I’ve moved Thirty Seconds to a new place. I hope you continue to follow and read my thoughts. Thanks so much…again…for following.
I wrote this in a notebook at the end of May as I sat with Laura in the infusion room. I’ve been noticing how fear influences so much of what we do. I believe that observation…while not revolutionary…will be a common theme from here on out. I guess I’m publishing it now for 2 reasons: First…the original post for tonight completely sucks. Second…the idea that fear runs so much of our lives is becoming more and more apparent to me…and I thought I would share a somewhat dramatic example. Here it is…an unedited presentation of thoughts that came out that day. (I may change my mind and take this one down. So…read it quickly.)
As I sit here and watch my wife get her infusion I can’t help but look around at the different ways other cancer patients behave here in this room. Some are reading…some are doing crafts…some are doing nothing. One woman in particular has my full attention. She has a small note card sized ring binder with prayers written in it. Hundreds of them…and she is reciting them as she gets her meds. I can hear them. She is scared.
This seems like a common reaction…to turn to god…to pray…for what I can’t say in her case. If I look at my own experience in this area I will guess that she is praying for healing…maybe comfort…maybe a miracle. Hell…she could be praying that she wins the lottery. I really don’t know…but it doesn’t change the point of this observation.
Few of us can imagine anything worse than getting cancer and withering away as we receive this treatment or that…this drug AND that…the whole time living with the unthinkable…we might die from this. And so we pray. We pray in an infusion chair…and don’t see the billowing white clouds drifting by in the bright early spring sun. We wait for these (spring) days…and they arrive…but we don’t see it because we are praying…or begging…or wishing things were different than they are. I’m not sure how much difference there really is between the three.
The chairs are comfortable…but we don’t feel them. The room is actually very clean…the nurses friendly…the coffee is free. Our friends are doing friend things…and they are here…and we still know them. She walked into the room under her own power. That is good. She is getting treatment. That is good. Someone who loves her just gave her a call on her cell phone. That is good too. But she is scared. She is scared…and so she prays for something…and misses all that is happening to her that can be considered good. (I don’t blame her. I’m just trying to learn something here.)
I am becoming a judgmental SOB…and I know that I won’t even publish this…so WTF. It’s just an observation. She…like the past me…is praying her ass off because she is scared out of her ever-loving wits of an unsuccessful end game. (But it’s only considered unsuccessful because it doesn’t match our game plan. This isn’t the movies, folks. People die.) The point is…as she is praying her ass off she is miserable. This prayer is a “Please let me get my life back,” type. It’s desperate and pleading and begging. (I wonder if god is saying, “Wait…if your life was so great before why did you bitch about it so much? Jesus Christ get the f*ck over yourself!”) I don’t think it’s possible to plead and beg and be at peace at the same time.
I can tell what she’s praying about. They say 85% of communication is non-verbal. That woman is scared out of her wits. How awful to spend what’s left of our :30 seconds in fear. I guess the only thing to fear really is fear itself.