There is no way to stop crying today, no being reasonable. Normally I can be a detached observer. Normally my vantage point can be removed, separated, even liberated.
But not this time.
Last night my spirit purged. At least that is my guess as to what was happening, as I lay there until morning working through such flawed material. An incident would come into awareness, Iíd have feelings attached to it, and then let it go. One after another as old hurts came up, I gave each one a heartfelt listen, asked it what it was there to teach me, and let it go. And in the morning light I realized there is nothing to do about all of this, all of these thoughts, past mistakes, and painful memories.
There is just letting go.
These past few months have been overwhelming: The sudden illness and death of my mother who has been my constant companion my whole life; the circumstances that arose following her death; and then recently finding a suspicious group of calcifications in my breast. My body simply wonít allow me to go on as usual pretending Iím okay. This is certainly an expedition of the human spirit.
Itís important to be a little bit kinder to myself, I muse, I have reason to melt down.
My initial response to the possibility of having cancer is No Way. I know that I donít. And yet I heard the doctor say I might, the chances are somewhere very north of zero, non-zero. Right now Iím ensconced in fear of the procedure ahead. I picture the needle, the heart palpitations, the table, the need to lie VERY still, and the inevitable itch on my nose. But last night was somehow cleansing, and maybe that is what todayís meltdown is really about: the proverbial flushing down the drain of all the spiritual impurities hiding in my psychic past. I am reading a book called French Women for All Seasons on how women in France stay fit. In it, the author prescribes a weekend of leeks for cleansing the impurities from the body.
Maybe the awareness of what this biopsy might unveil is like a whole lot of cleansing for the heart and mind. While suffering can bring into perspective what matters and what does not, this biopsy seems to be forcing me to clear out the grudges and the hurts that I have been storing in that closet in the back of my psyche, quietly nursing past scars that Iíve been so reluctant to let go. Well this nonzero possibility of having cancer seems to be doing just that: clearing out the ghosts, the scars, the grudges, the hurts.
But Iím still scared.
No amount of purging is going to change this. Iím scared of what might happen on Tuesday. Scared of what this biopsy could reveal. I want to be brave. I really do. I want to keep my humor no matter what might lie ahead, to somehow put these moments of anguish to good use. In my mind, I know that I have the choice to stay fully engaged with what is happening inside and have faith that whatever happens is Godís will; but viscerally, Iím shaking like a leaf, a trapped quarry. This is my Gethsemane moment, and the only power I feel I have left in me is to choose (or at least try to choose) how Iím going to face this. As Viktor Frankl says, Everything can be taken from a man [or woman J] but one thing: the last of the human freedoms Ė to choose oneís attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. There are things I can do about my predicament, even now. I can take care of myself, watch what I consume, consult with the best physicians, have a leek weekend. I know that I am fortunate to have choices and fortunate that I realize that these choices exist. I am just so grateful.
Be like the bird that, passing on her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings. ~Victor Hugo