You Can't Rush Your Healing
Old Dog ~ New Tricks
“They give you two weeks,” he says and many of us half-laugh. It’s the laugh of those who know something is true, even while wishing it wasn’t.
We are discussing grief and its various manifestations and complications.
And the trouble that comes with the necessity of reentering the “real world” at some point after a trauma sweeps us off our feet.
In The Meantime
“I. Am. Here. Now.”
“Shhhhhh. I. Am. Here. Now.”
*Plod* *Plod* *Lick*
“So what did you do this weekend?”
I had two issues with answering this question honestly. First, we were tucked in the middle of a crowded coffee shop and I wasn’t sure how prepared I was to be overheard on the subject of how I spent my weekend. Second, the friend asking the question was not only a new friend, but a pastor too. I was treading into completely new territory with him, and I wasn’t entirely sure how the honest answer would go over.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my diet these days. Whether it has to do with why nothing on a particular menu works for me or why I need to know if there will be a refrigerator at my location, people are really curious when they start to realize how much time and effort seems to go into the food area of my life right now.
“Do you feel okay?”
I am struggling to stand up from my lounger by the pool. Its an overcast afternoon in Tucson, and I am taking the chance to do some reading in the fresh air without the risk of burning up.
“My bones hurt. It’s a chemo side effect.”
“Isn’t that over yet?”
“You have been through an initiation, a burning down,” she tells me again from her perch in the corner of the sacred space we are gathered in. My body feels full, for lack of a better word. Plump. Not in an uncomfortable way, but in the way I imagine a water balloon that has been given just the right amount of water must feel. And I nod. Because this is quite possibly the perfect word for this last year.
The Magic Of Salt Water
“I don’t think you needed any chemotherapy at all, to be honest.”
He tells me this as we are camped out in my neighborhood’s newest restaurant, sharing spanakopita that does not fall within any part of my restricted diet but which is so incredibly delicious that he insists I try it. It is worth every risk that comes with putting it into my mouth.
“You don’t think I needed any at all?” I question as I tuck my feet up beneath me and reach for my lemon water. “Any?”
Breakfast, Body Image, & Rage
“Thank you for bringing me here.”
This is my new prayer, plucked from the pages of the Rolf Gates book that makes up part of my teetering stack of daily readers.
I know the comment that is coming before it even begins to emerge from his lips.
“That looks . . . healthy”
I am standing in the office kitchen making my breakfast – gluten-free oats with chia seeds, flax seeds, organic berries, nut butter, and almond milk if you are curious what it is that caused such a stir. I’ve been getting these comments from everywhere for months and I still haven’t figured out the correct response. “Thank you” seems insufficient and curt. Admitting I’d rather be looking forward to Chik-Fil-A than brown rice and kale for lunch somehow too brazen. So instead I just give a half-hearted nod and wish that everyone could just forget that I ever got cancer again.
“I am telling you this story so that you do not think of any part of your journey as wasted time. So you do not feel a need to rush. To speed ahead to fulfill your calling.”
We were in his office, some days after the end of round three. If I’ve collected oncologists in the last fourteen years, in the last three I seem to have collected pastors.