My Kahuna and I nap together nearly every day. Some days it doesn’t work out. Maybe one of us is angry at the other, or wound too tightly, or our rhythms don’t mesh and we miss the exquisite yumminess of curling up together and drifting off into sleep to wake up in the arms of our beloved, but most days we get our 20 minute power nap in. The little moments like that mean so much now that our entire lives are thrown into upheaval, much like the now TWO refrigerators that hold entire cases of lettuce and 25-pound bags of carrots instead of last night’s leftover wine and cheese. I treasure those moments as we parse them and create new rituals and moments with just as much romance and meaning as the old ones had.
So the other day we were lying together.
“Let me feel your belly,” said Kahuna.
I lifted my shirt obligingly while he poked around. I remembered how he sat next to me in the hospital, holding my hand, while doctors and nurses poked and prodded parts of my belly feeling for things like tumors. I remembered how much it hurt. He told everyone who touched me that it was going to hurt me. I thought at the time how he must have wanted to protect me from being hurt, and how it must have felt to be powerless to stop it.
His hand was gentle. Inquiring. He felt around in the area we had noticed the week before, the one where my lymph nodes had gone crazy with cancer and ballooned way too many times their size into something hard. Like a baked potato.
He kept feeling. No baked potato.
“I don’t feel anything. You try.”
I felt. I hadn’t wanted to since touching that alien …. thing … inside me the week before. The cancer potato. Wait. Where was it?
We still don’t know. What we could once feel we now cannot. No tumor. Or a much much smaller tumor. Either is pretty freaking awesome news.
That’s hope. I will take that.
Hope has been scarce ltely. I have a hard time seeing it when I can barely make it up the stairs. When sitting in a chair for more than 10 minutes feels like more work than I can handle. When walking to the car takes several minutes because I only have one speed — slow. And when I face Yet Another Baked Potato and bowl of soup (one of each for every meal!).
We went out looking for hope today. I think we found some. It took doing — having to down a glass of juice every hour means juicing ahead and packing it to take with if you want to leave the house for more than 50 minutes. But well worth it. Kahuna and I bonded over adventuring together here in Seattle. We met when we were both new to the city — I hadn’t even moved here yet and had barely spent any time in the city before we began to discover it together. So it was a no-brainer to explore together again today. Maybe walking through the co-op smelling the loaves of bread you can’t eat doesn’t sound very awesome to you, but for me it was romantic and way fun. I haven’t been out of the house for weeks except to go to doctor’s appointments. Making note of the raw milk in the dairy aisle (even though I can’t have any for probably months) is my kind of excitement right now. We walked. We held hands. We kissed in the parking lot. We bought 20 gallons of filtered water. It was heaven. And I think I found hope.
My Facebook friend Mark Davidson posted a piece he wrote and today I read it. You can find the original here. But here’s the part that spoke to me:
No matter what challenges you are facing now, if you have access to food, clean water, and clothing, you are blessed. If you woke up this morning, you are blessed. If secret police haven’t arrested and tortured you today, you are blessed. If you can write your thoughts without fear of being imprisoned, you are blessed. If you are in good health, you are blessed. If you are experiencing challenges in your life and you can pick up a telephone, have a computer and can send messages, and find support in the friendships you’ve developed, you are blessed.
Nothing outside of us can cause us fear, pain or doubt. Our attitude towards events is what causes our feelings rather than the events themselves. Each of us has a choice.
Differentiate between what we can control and what we cannot. Do what we can, where we can and leave the rest to The Universe. We cannot and should not carry the burden of the world on our shoulders. It’s not our job. We are not equipped. We can, however, control ourselves and cut a path, even in the worst of times. We still have free will. Do not focus on what you do not have, focus on what you do have. Do not focus on what you cannot change. Focus on what you can change.
I’m not going to pretend to known what The Universe’s plan is beyond my share. It’s too overwhelming and I’m not that smart. I’ll leave that to the philosophers and religious scholars and the thinkers.
What I can do is to look for and recognize the miracles that occur daily and surround me and be thankful for what I do have and can do, rather than what I can’t.
So that’s what I am going to do. Am doing, starting earlier today. I have so much. I have a wonderful man who stands up for me, is right beside me, and loves the hell out of me. I have an adorable kitty cat who warms my lap occasionally and comforts my man every day. I have four amazing children who each bring a different light to the world and show me different parts of myself. I have two parents who loved me and did their best. I have so many friends who daily send me love and offer prayers and are generally thinking about me and wishing good things for me. I have a limitless heart and wise soul that guides me in every moment, if only I listen. I have so much. I am so blessed.
It would be good to remember that.