I have had a few lines of a John Mayer song stuck in my head since my most recent hospital trip. The song goes like this:
“You gotta show, show, show me
Show, show, show me
Show, show, show me
That love is a verb
Love ain’t a thing
Love is a verb”
The song is simple and straight-forward, imploring action in our lives. Inciting us to do, in addition to what we say. I love that song in all of its simplicity.
My most recent appointment was not a substantial one. It was just a trip to the hospital for a scan. Scans inherently come with a bit of anxiety, in particular the ones you know will lead to surgery, but this seemed a bit mundane to me and not much like a big deal. The hospital has lost its edge to me, no longer do I see other patients and experience a fear that I will somehow end up among a sea of the sick. Now I see beautiful people, in all their varied degrees of health and wellness, and I see myself as part of a collective of patients: each of us seeking to figure where we fit on the continuum of illness to wellness. I don’t fear test results, instead the empower me with information. I don’t fear the unknown because it is all unknown. I don’t worry about outcome, because I have relinquished control over that which I cannot change. I do my best, armed with information, to survive the scans and treatments in a thoughtful way.
I didn’t particularly want to sit in the waiting room alone, though I knew the scan would be short and sweet as far as brain scans go. My mom went with me, despite a host of other responsibilities and obligations in her day. We laughed the whole way to the hospital as she slammed on her breaks and quickly changed lanes to avoid any potential of me being late to my check in time. She joked in the waiting room to provide a potential distraction to the sea of patients being called back ahead of me, to keep me from finding that slice of fear that will likely never fade away. She smiled and laughed and offered to hold my stuff as I went back to the cold and dim room where large, ominous machines buzz around me. She waited behind the big scary doors that protect the outside world from the radiation of the giant machines inside. She rose to meet me when I emerged from the room. She rose to meet me, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally. She rose to meet me.
She loved me in her actions more than she could in her words. Her presence, like the presence of all the people I love, carried me forward, that day and every day.
Ever since then, as I have been wrapped in cascades of love from many parts of life, I have found myself humming this song to myself. Imploring myself to do as it says, and show the world my love. It is with humility I stand before you, offering you all the host of love you have shown me. Offering you all so much of myself as you have all given me so much.
I started this blog years ago in the hopes that I could pay forward the support I had found in various online and offline communities. I had hoped and continue to hope that any suffering, joy, pain, happiness or sadness I face could serve as building blocks for others as they approach all the challenges and hope their lives offer them. There is no way for me to truly evaluate if this work in progress is a job well done. There is no way for me to measure any difference or indifference to these words on a page. That said, there is a certain power in naming our desires, our hopes, what we believe we might be able to do. I believe fervently that to those who seek my support, I can rise to meet you. I can love actively. I can do and say.
I can rise to meet you.
We are not audience members to life, we don't live to watch life pass us by. I may be sick, I may have pain, but I get to live in my life, however complicated that life may be. I get to do, I get to act, I get to love. And so do you, even when all you can do, all that you can summon each day is to open your eyes and let just the tiniest bit of light in. Life is not built in sweeping moments of greatness, but in the moments we encounter with both pleasure and disdain. Life is not about doing it well or right either, life may be suffering, but it is about being in those moments, being a part of them, staying aware of where we are and accepting ourselves for the moment we are in.
I have to get more surgery in December (yes, because of Flo), so the next months will be peppered with tests and doctors appointments as I prepare my body to face itself once again. I see this surgery not as a devastating consequence of my illness, but as an opportunity to heal, to change, to grow, to move forward. It may work, it may not, and I don't really want to go through it again, but movement, even when it is hard, takes us forward to a place we've never been, to the lesson life is forcing upon us. So I will move, I will change, I will try not to be a total bitch about being in the hospital, and I will do so while bathed in the love I have been shown. And I will try, despite my bodies efforts to stop me, to show you all love too.
Peace and love always,