Where Do We Go From Here?
“We were just walking along, and Hope stopped and started staring into this backyard. She wouldn’t move. And the next thing I knew – I saw she was staring at a goat! In Bellevue!”
This was the second time I had regaled someone with this story in as many days. I wasn’t sure if the goat just showed up or if he had always been there and I had just failed to notice.
I mean – who fails to notice a goat hanging out along their regular walking route?
* * *
I told my story for the first time today. Not my cancer story, or the “made-for-TV-movie” version of my divorce or the relationships that came after that. But the raw and real and uncomfortable story of my childhood, my life before recovery, my bottom(s), and life today.
This is a thing we do in the rooms. Every so often someone is asked to tell their story at a meeting. A dear friend asked me if I would share mine a few weeks ago while we were roaming around Maymont, soaking in the last little bit of fall.
I didn’t need to pray about it or to talk to my sponsor before agreeing. God and I had been kicking this idea around for awhile. Not because it would be fun or exciting, but because it would be the next step.
If we don’t do the uncomfortable things, we don’t grow.
And this would certainly be uncomfortable.
* * *
“Maybe its my spirit animal. A goat.”
He picked up his phone and googled what this would mean.
Time to begin new climbs. New endeavors. Its time to stretch and reach new heights.
* * *
I haven’t written a ton about recovery around here. It hasn’t been intentional. I’ve had this little thing called cancer to deal with and this space was a good way to keep people updated when I couldn’t quite handle actual communication.
With the “cancer free” declaration, I’ve had a lot of questions about this space. Would I still write? Am I still going to travel? What’s next?
First things first – The cancer journey isn’t over yet. We have hit a major, incredible milestone. But keeping things in remissions – getting the “cured” label – it still the task at hand. So the work isn’t over and this is still my first priority. I’ll still be keeping y’all updated about all of those things here. And I’ll still be traveling, still be learning, still be exploring ways to heal that don’t involving poisoning ourselves to death.
But it’s also time to talk about new things around here too.
* * *
We paid our checks but the conversation continues. He’s been in a similar boat – the boat that quite nearly tips over and comes so close to capsizing but somehow rights itself just a moment after anyone in their right mind would have jumped ship. And like me, he somehow managed to stay onboard for that one moment too long and came through the storm.
We have both lived through something that maybe we shouldn’t have.
“Don’t you feel it?” I ask him, knowing that he most likely does. "This magical space we get to be in?"
The feeling is hard to describe and harder to give words to. I didn’t just get to live longer than many statistics said I should have, but I get to live a new life. The me that has healed. The me that is recovering. The me that has learned to love myself.
I’m not just still alive.
I woke up.
And I’m reborn.
* * *
I knew from the get-go that God was giving me a mission here on Earth. Its why I’m still alive. It why I woke up.
It struck me the other day in the middle of a yoga practice.
One love calls it my dharma.
She could be right.
The message God gave me is one of hope.
So that’s what we’re going to talk about here going forward.
It won’t always be pretty. Nothing around here ever has been. But hope doesn’t live in the bright sunshine or rainbow colored clouds. Hope is the small pinprick of light that glistens in the darkest nights. Hope is the hint of optimism that remains even when doubt threatens to overwhelm.
Hope is what we have when we have nothing else.
* * *
We pass the goat yard on the way to our cars, and notice not one of them, but two. They wear collars and dog tags and I don't understand how I have not seen them before this week. One is friendly and lets us pet him and talk to him and he waits to see if we brought some cardboard along for a snack.
Full of hope that one.
But aren't we all?