July 5, 2018
I’ve been away from these pages for another stretch and diving in this morning is a bit unfamiliar. A voice says, “It’s like riding a bike.” And another “Don’t worry you’ll get your sea legs/blog legs back.” And like most things, I know to start where I am which always seems like starting over and really isn’t. The world was still in winter when I left here and is now bursting with lush green leaves and warm (very warm!) air. New rhythms with work life and the bright spots of summer frolic on the horizon. The landscape of home and it’s inhabitants changing. We’ve had a houseguest come and go through a six week summer class already and a son home from a semester abroad.
I also come with a new set of spectacles I didn’t necessarily plan on. A sojourn into a chapter of health related focus as a result of a small stroke. Back in April actually. The day after my Lenten writing ended. I type the words “health related focus” and think, isn’t that ALWAYS? And somehow this was different. A cause and effect exercise stretching through a length of time. Not just eat well, exercise, usual day to day focus. Some fear of the unknown. A new team of doctors including a neurologist, cardiologist, and cardiac surgeon. I am fortunate to live in a place that warrants outstanding medical care. I am fortunate to live in a place (geography is relative here, it’s more like place in my life…) that warrants a dream team of support. Family by my side. Communities that fill me up and teach me how to ask for prayers and help. How to meditate in an MRI tunnel when I am definitely somewhat claustrophobic. How to trust that somehow I will be conscious and awake as a device is deployed through a vein to cover a tiny hole in my heart that has been there that we did not know about until April 2nd. How to be gentle with myself as a layout of recovery landscape looks different from the pace and rigor I am accustomed to. And honestly, I am feeling very well 10 days out from the surgery. And I need to follow directions for a little stretch of time.
I have a new window of compassion into the friends near and far that I have prayed for and with through their difficult curve balls that life has thrown them. In the midst of so much news swirling that I feel connected to this does seem like a blip on the radar. And when they are your blips they are magnified volume in the cacophony of louder noise in the world which I cannot deny or ignore. I asked myself, “Why me?” and I got back, “Why not you?”. And as we connected the dots of the period I could not speak for nearly a minute (like I was talking under water) to the echocardiogram that revealed colored bubbles moving from one chamber of my heart to another. Over and over again, I have been reminded. “You had a stroke? Hm. Any residuals?” And with my answer of “No, not really.” I got back…”Wow. You are lucky.” Sometimes lucky was preceded by a “so” or “really” or multiple exclamation point inflection emphasis. Those words have only just begun to sink in as I sit here tonight and over the past 10 days digesting the past three months. I have a jam packed bulletin board of inspiration and images above me with one as the beacon for why I said I wanted to show up here and tap out these words. A little girl wearing a long tutu with a Mary Oliver quote reading “Instructions for Life: Pay attention, Be Amazed, Tell About it”. I am. I really am. So very much. And so it goes.