We all know what this means, right?
It starts with feeling the lump in your breast, then goes to the lump in your throat as you are thinking, ‘what if this is it?’ then it migrates to the lump in your stomach which does this form of math which calculates rapid fire, complete with photos, all the things you’re going to miss if you die of breast cancer. So really what I found was lump, upon lump upon lump.
So what went through my mind after that? What hit me when I scheduled the ultrasound and sat on that funky little exam bed in a backwards robe wondering if I was about to get really bad news? Honestly I thought, I just want to live, whatever that looks like. I want to eat toast, I want to read to my grand daughter, I want to hold my children and have a phone call about nothing with the friends in my life who have become my life and I want to walk into my work and do what I did the day before I found the lump.
I want to live like I’m living. I want to have what I have. I’d like to take what comes, keep loving the people I love and if I can take a trip here and there, maybe cuddle up on a little piece of Oregon dirt and make a home where those I love now and those I’ll love later can come see me, if they would, well..that would be good.
It surprised me how humble my real goals are these days. I once wanted to see the face of God, to tour the world’s greatest sacred places and write a book that makes people laugh and cry and come see me at a book store or two.
Among the oddities of this thought stream as I sat cross legged in a room that smelled of alcohol wipes and hummed of imaging machines on a navy blue plastic bed is that I’ve done the things I wanted, they just looked different than I imagined.
I’ve seen the face of God on the bus next to me in the face of that guy who smiled at me like he knew me and then told me of his troubles and victories while we passed the time and I’ve toured the sacred places because they are everywhere. I can see that now.
The meaning of my life can’t be summed up by one grand gesture or even a half dozen. It will be in the millions of details; the child’s shoe lace tied, the apple shared, the hand held, the laughter sputtered, gasped and bellowed, the rules followed and better yet the ones broken and every, single spectacular, ordinary second I’ve loved you. The meaning of my life can be found in the little “follow” button you’ll see on this screen. A beautiful woman who creates art, and words and life just popped it on there for me one day because she wanted to help. She didn’t even tell me she did it, I just saw it and knew she cared. The face of God, sacred places, all in that one little button. Gifts fall from heaven. We just open our hands and they land there encouraging us to be happy, grateful and blessed.
Another gift; ten minutes later the news came in–the lump is not cancer. No follow up is needed. I will live like I’m living, love like I’m loving and be very, very glad.
Thank you. I am humbled and grateful. Maybe we can get together in a book store soon? I hear the coffee is good at Bloomsbury.