It’s been seven years since I got the telephone call that changed my life. Sitting at my desk in the early evening quiet, finishing this task or that, I wasn’t prepared to pick up the phone and find out that I had cancer.
No one ever is.
And now its back.
This kind of bad luck, like any other bad luck, presents us with an opportunity to find out just exactly what kind of human we truly are. Stoic? Afraid? Arrogant? Humble? Weak? Strong?
All of the above, I think.
Our emotional go-to’s when a bomb drops in our lives is wide-ranging. But one thing is certain — we are never just one of anything. There are times when we buck up and stand tall, then there are times we find ourselves curled into a ball, weeping at what has befallen us, unable to run the clock backward and avert the devastating event. We are time’s prisoner even as the world whirls on all around us.
Yet when we come face-to-face with the frailties of the human condition we discover one undeniable thing: We are all the same. Exactly the same. Our blood runs toward the heart, then out again. Our lungs expand, then contract. Our eyes open, then close. We live through it all — the illness, the death, the trauma, the destruction of our families, our homes, and our lives. Yet we survive. And we survive despite the fact that, relative to much of what surrounds us, we are no stronger than the powdery flock of a butterfly’s wing.
But it is from this, our frailty, from which our strength springs.
And we endure.