Despite the fact that I am diagnosed with terminal cancer, I have not stopped living. No, quite the opposite, I suppose. I continue to drink deeply and to embrace life as much as I can. Today was no exception. I crammed a lot into the past 14 waking hours. Whew!
I am still behind on responding to emails, especially those that require thoughtful attention but I do read everything of a personal nature that arrives in my mailbox, usually soon after awaking. I try to follow that with my daily prayer time. I am not always successful at this and find that sometimes shower and prayer go together well. Thich Naht Hanh taught me this trick of praying during routine events. I scrub my face and ask that it may shine brightly for God to all I will meet during the day. As the water pours over me, I pray that my iniquities be washed away. At the end of my shower, I ask that God’s healing power will flow through me.
Soon after breakfast, I usually begin to scurry. Today I was off to the office to attempt to finish packing everything up. I did not quite make that goal but I am very close. A few more hours and I can walk away. Healing definitely has happened because I am now anxious for that to occur. That chapter of my life is complete. I need to concentrate on some projects that I want to develop in the next few months.
I had popped home over the lunch hour today to have a video call with my Rwandan goddaughter and her family in Nairobi. Sadly, she had a high fever and was fast asleep on the chesterfield and thus I did not even see her. Her two siblings came by to say hello as I chatted with her parents, before heading back to the office. After work, I stopped at the nearby farmer’s market and bought some fresh strawberries. I came home and did something I love to do–I baked. The smell of the fruit crumble filled the apartment.
I took some of my baking to my parents when I went to see how Dad’s ultrasound went today. I knew the results were pending but it was reassuring that he and my sister managed the appointment without any glitches. The conversation was much lighter than yesterday’s more painful one. The interesting dynamic about drinking deeply from life is that you cannot choose just the tasty treats–the sorrowful cup must also be lifted. The balance keeps me sane, I suppose.
Now I am left with some packing for a little weekend getaway where I will leave the noise of the city and enter forced relaxation mode as my friends call it. I am looking forward to spending time with them away from distractions. I also love being in nature and breathing more slowly. Being near water is tranquil for me and so I am quite excited about this trip in particular. I will pack some books and a journal. The weather will hopefully cooperate and we can get some swimming in. Evenings will be good conversation, fabulous meals, and maybe the odd game or two. This is all part of drinking deeply and leisurely. I will unplug for several days so I will probably not be posting. That could be a good thing too. This way I can be fully present to the moment and my friends.
I am beginning to think again about how to fit everyone into my life right now who wants to be part of this journey. I have had two faraway friends ask to be on palliative care duty when the time arrives. I am humbled and touched by these generous offers and know that what is coming will teach us all some lessons in drinking deeply from the sweetness of life and the sorrows of death. May God keep my heart open to what gifts I still must receive and offer while living well. In the meantime, I raise up a cup of glorious nectar that is created in love by so many around me.
How deeply do you drink from life?
Is the cup holding sweetness or bitterness for you?
I raise a glass to you, Creator, of Life, given freely and received gratefully. I drink deeply from this chalice, understanding the bittersweetness that pours out from it. May I slurp every single drop from it with gusto and know that you smile as I do. Amen.