have you ever had the exhilarating experience of absolute gratitude for life, for every small and big thing that happens upon your personal journey, where you finally understand that nothing really matters except the stuff that really matters? and before the gratitude and understanding arrive, the begging begins: “please god, if you just make this ok, i will never take anything for granted ever again and i will never go to bed angry and i will…” and so on.
exactly five years ago while i sat in my little cubicle at my uninspiring social work job, i received a phone call. all i could hear on the other end of the line was life affirming screams as he shouted “lymph node one: benign! lymph node two: benign! lymph node three: benign!” and so on. i remember hanging up the phone and letting loose a joyful and uninhibited scream across the expanse of those boring white office walls, a scream that could be heard over the tops of all those cubicles “cancer free! cancer free!”. it was, quite simply, one of the best days of my entire life. and this is the exact part where the gratitude and the understanding enter my life, i mean really enter my life.
in those scary weeks preceding the good news, we had endured some very bad news: john had been diagnosed with melanoma. it was widely excised and the surrounding lymph nodes were removed and tested for cancer cells. the lymph nodes are the highways of our bodies. if cancer cells were discovered in the lymph nodes, it was a serious situation. the waiting was excruciating. it was heart wrenching, actually. we had just been married a few months before, still wading, hand-in-hand, through the bliss of being newlyweds. we were 26 and 27 years old.
of course john and i processed that experience as individuals, but also as a newly married couple. in some ways, it became a blessing in our marriage, to learn early on what we could lose. we learned to hold tightly, not out of fear, but out of a respect for love and our lives and of our union. we also learned to just simply be aware of all the goodness. and to sit with the simplicity of that, even today, calms my naturally worrisome self.
so, if you’ve noticed all the love inspired posts over here lately, it’s because today, this week, i’m very much aware of all the goodness. and thankful as all get out that he (and we) (and our loved ones) (and our dog) are healthy. i know it can’t always be this way, but i’m savoring it while it lasts.