abundance · gratitude · healing

Owning Abundance.

10.29.18.jpgOn Friday after work, I was taking down the garbage from the Marin house, where J lives and where I’m apparently moving into (!).  As I was descending the stairs, a woman a little older than me was parking her car outside and getting her small son out of the car.  Many people turn around or park in the cul-de-sac where we live, walking dogs, playing, passing through the pedestrian short-cut, so I didn’t consider it odd, but she kept observing me.

She walked up to the front gate and asked, “Do you live here?”

I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond—since the answer was “sort of”—but I replied, “Yes.”

She told me then that she and her family used to live here when it was a rental property of the former owner and asked if a package had been delivered for her.  As it turned out, I was supposed to drop a “return to sender” package we’d received at the post office, but hadn’t done it yet… so YES!  I had her package.

She was kind of dancing around the front gate, unsure of where to be while I retrieved it.  Her son said something that he meant to approximate, “We used to live here.”  I told him that as I was cleaning up the yard the other day, I found a green plastic stegosaurus — was it his?  Did he want it?

He said yes (of course), so I invited him and his mom into the backyard to get it from where I’d placed it on the fence post, a reminder of the families who’d lived here.

He snatched it out of my hand, his mom asked me a question about the house, commenting a little shyly on how different the backyard looked now (without any furniture!).  I wasn’t quite sure what to say.

I walked them out the front gate and off they drove.

I was struck by the fact that I felt embarrassed.  I felt embarrassed and almost ashamed that this woman and her family were kicked out of the home where I now live, where J now lives.

Clearly, that’s absurd, but it’s also how I felt.  That I was somehow to blame, as I was party to the choosing of this house, for her family having to vacate and move.  (The 2nd bedroom has those glow-in-the-dark stars still on the ceiling in real constellations from where they’d placed them.)

The “fault,” if there is one, clearly doesn’t lie with me.  It was a home that was being sold no matter what, and J happened to be the person to buy it.  The family was going to be asked to move no matter what.

But I felt embarrassed to tell this woman that I was party to owning this home.  That I do, in fact, live here.  That this abundance was mine.

This is the piece I’ve been sitting with for several days now: for years, I’ve been talking about abundance, wanting it, working toward it, “attracting” it, visioning it, vision-boarding it.

And now here it is and I feel toe-in-the-dirt shy to say I’m achieving some part of it.

A person could roll their eyes at the woe-is-her struggle to own abundance, but the truth is I think many of us struggle with owning our achievements or our successes or our overflows.

When I was living in San Francisco in a 1bedroom, I had social gatherings and parties regularly because I felt so fortunate with my abundant space that I wanted to and had to share it with others.  Those gatherings were one of the most joyful experiences about my time living there.

The wonderful thing about having abundance is getting to share it more widely.  If I eschew it, avoid it, don’t have it, or don’t embrace it, then I’m not really getting the full benefit of it at all — and would be better off back in a small life that I can feel embarrassed of for entirely different reasons!

“Owning abundance” was never something I foresaw would be a challenge, but having to shed the smallness and embarrassment that is arising in me will be a journey worthy to undertake.

How can we hold the excellent and wonderful things in our lives with equanimity?  How can we honor what we’ve worked for or have been given with gratitude, awe, and celebration?  And… are we allowed to?

 

Advertisements
healing · judgment · meditation

Trust Fund.

9.30.18 safety cloud.JPGThere’s a spiritual practice called “Feed Your Demons” that I was introduced to about a year ago.  In this process, you actively amplify some one of the trillion negative voices in your head and give it a form.  You invite it to come before you—and it’s safe to do so because of all the other work you’ve done—and you start to see if it has a face or eyes at least.

Once here, you ask a series of questions:

How do I feel about this entity/voice?  What do I experience in my own body when it’s before me?  How do I react when listening to all the crap that it’s spewing?

Then, you go inside the demon.  You probe in to see yourself through its eyes: How does it see me?  What is its opinion of me, really?  What is it scared of?

Coming back into yourself, you imagine offering the demon an unending supply of whatever it is that it’s needing.  What is it actually trying to get or feel?  I have imagined this, in different meditations, as the demon bathing in a golden liquid, or being rained upon from a redwood’s soaked needles, or, once, like a lab rat licking from an inverted water bottle.

You imagine that this demon, this voice, drinks of that worthiness, of that golden satiety until it is full, until it is wholly full of whatever comfort it needed.  And you observe what has happened.

That rat, having drunk its fill of love/gold/worthiness, transformed into a very young girl who just loved to hold your hand and repeat with that certainty and experimentation of language that a 2 or 3-year old has: “I’m important!”  To which, the older me who was with her would reply, “Yes.  Yes, you are.”  And just a few steps later, excited at her burgeoning discovery and with the facility for repetition only a child retains, she’d repeat with sunny authority: “I’m important.”  Yes, love.  Yes, you are.

In some cases, these demons are just perverted assets or positive beliefs that have gotten so twisted in their attempts at protecting you that they just require untwisting and then they get to hang with you for always, like the little girl.  Sometimes, though, the voice really doesn’t belong to you.  It is composed of something corroded and you must invite it to leave in whatever way makes sense — which it has to then do.  It is no longer allowed to stay in your consciousness if you have asked it to leave.

So.

Yesterday, I invited in my Judgment — the character defect/defense/outmoded protection element (whatever term makes sense to you) — that I’m presently working to loosen.

Partly as a function of a Facebook advertisement repeatedly showing this Magritte painting of a man in a suit and bowler hat with a floating green apple obscuring his face, and partly as a result of my having read Lev Grossman’s Magician series this summer where the main evil is a man whose face is obscured for much of the book by a floating branch, my Judgment came to meet me in the form of that man in a suit.

But its face was a scribbled, swirl of black lines, crackling and spitting like an electrical storm, and its eyes were molten red.  The thing scared the hell out of me.

The words it produced went along the same lines that perhaps some of yours do, vicious and biting and cold, harsh words that erode your very sense of self, of purpose, of ease in the world.  Judgment is a blaring asshole.

To forward to the end of my “Feed Your Demons” process, here’s what happened for this man in a suit: I imagined he was fed that gold liquid from a large wine skein, an unlimited supply of whatever it was that demon was trying to get from me by keeping me scared and small and distracted.  It drank and drank, its stomach started to swell, I thought it would become bloated and kind of fall over.

It filled moreso and began to blow up like Violet Beauregarde, rounding and inflating.  The man in the suit started to pale as he drank, the color washing out of him, bleaching.  The man became something else, it was turning into …

A cloud.

A cottony, white, ice-cream-scoop shaped cloud, the perfect ideal of a kindergartener’s crayola drawing.

Once he’d begun to drink, the words from the golden liquid, from his nourishment, became audible: You are safe.  *glug glug glug*  You are safe.

Judgment, loosed of all its vitriol, detoxed to reveal a sweet, enveloping little cloud floating just beside me, chiming and repeating:  You are safe!

Judgment… as a mechanism for Safety?

If I judge you then I don’t feel vulnerable or uncertain.  If I am different than you, I don’t have to exist within the discomfort of your oh-so-humanness nor do I have to admit that maybe I’m human, too.  If I savagely eviscerate myself and judge my efforts, I will recoil, crumple, and never attempt things unfamiliar or growth-oriented.

Judgment as a crazy-ass way to keep me safe?  That crackling litany of incessant brutality… to keep me safe?

Well, yeah.  It sorta does make sense, albeit a radically circuitous kind of sense.

To think: behind all that blackness can now be a white, fluffy cloud bumping along beside me?  Every time that I think a worried thought, that I question a novel move, that I wonder if I said/did/am the right thing, this cherub of Divine Love is now here to chirp at and remind me, “You are safe”?

Damn, those meditations are good.

 

healing · relationships · self-support

Stacking the Bench

3.29.18

Yesterday, I asked my 6th graders to complete this journal prompt:  Write a list of members of Team ____ (your name).

“Team Molly” is a concept I’ve held for a few years, as people rotate in and out of my life and, as I told my students, it’s particularly helpful to write (or think) this list during times of hardship or stress, change or loneliness.

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of transition happening for me with the dissolution of my long-term relationship as I look toward what’s next, but also take stock of what came before.

To crib a Passover question: How is this relationship different from all other relationships?  And perhaps more importantly, how is it the same?

In a time like this, I need Team Molly.  I need to remember it, call upon it, and utilize its members.  Or, you know, I could just bump around the world doing the same things I’ve always done and getting the same results.  That’s an option, too.

Who’s on your bench?

 

community · debt · healing · vulnerability

A Kick Start.

Normal
0
0
1
604
3443
28
6
4228
11.1287

0

0
0

Well, folks. Tomorrow I will publish my indiegogo campaign
to help me pay the back-rent accrued when I was in chemo.
It’s been a short, strange, and amazing process.
About 2 weeks ago, I was sitting with a friend in a café, both of us
“applicationing,” online searching, looking for work, looking for authenticity.
I said to him, “You know my favorite thing I ever did? I
hosted this group art show in SF.”
I showed him the LocalArtists Productions page, practically
defunct and way out-dated. I told him how successful it was, people came,
people who didn’t know they could sell their art sold their art. I even sold some!
People laughed, ate, met, mingled. It was divine.
I then told my friend that I haven’t painted much since then. That I can’t really in my small apartment with a cat who likes to
walk over wet paint. I told him about this art studio I found while exploring
the 4th floor of my apartment building, and how I’d inquired to my landlord
about it, and how he’d said, yes, I can rent it for $25 a month(!!!), if I pay off my back rent.
Almost $4000 now. Out of work for 6 months, only working
part time after that. I racked up quite the debt. And have been slowly paying
it back. But…
Here’s where lightning struck. My friend said to me,
“You should do a Kickstarter. This is exactly the kind of thing people use
crowdfunding for.”
I looked at him, stunned, quizzical, a little vague. I tilted my head, trying to process what was just
said, offered, opened up before me.
I replied, incredulous, “I guess people would donate to a cancer survivor who wanted to make art
again, wouldn’t they?”
And so it was, 2 weeks ago we started something new.
Planning meetings, a few video shoots, a lot of “omigod, I’m
not even wearing any make-up, I wish I’d smile, I look awful” moments. And it’s
done. It’s being polished, and tomorrow morning, I will push this campaign out
into the world in the hopes that others will actually feel something from it.
In the hopes that I can stop writing “back-rent” in my
monthly budget. In the hopes that I can sever that weight of debt from that
time in my life.
As I sat with my friend going over the language in the
campaign, we have been talking a lot about “closing the cancer chapter.” And I
turned to him and said, “This isn’t closing it,
you know? This doesn’t make it ‘over.’
There is no “closed” when it comes to cancer. I’m in
remission. I’m 2 years into the 5 year “almost as healthy as normal people”
period. But it’s never closed. It can be moved on from in many ways, but the
simple existence of the campaign itself is proof that I’m willing to move into
the world in a way I wasn’t before
cancer.
Everything I do is in reaction to it.
I told my friend, tearfully, that this campaign is
important. It’s helpful. But it isn’t the end. The “closing the chapter” is a
great sound-byte, and I’m using it. But it was important for me to say to him,
“Not quite.”
For better or worse.
I am proud of the
strides I’ve made since being sick. I’m proud of the advancements and actions I’ve
taken – being in a band, singing, being in plays, a musical, going to Hawaii,
Boston, Seattle, trying dating again, flying a goddamned plane! – and I’m
overwhelmed by the support I have gotten.
But, it’s so hard to sit with the reality that I am who I am
because of what I went through.
I still get nervous when I get a sore throat, cuz that’s how
I was diagnosed. I still have to keep extra tabs on my health insurance. I still have
a butterfly-shaped scar on my chest where the chemo tube went.
And last week I put on a sweater I hadn’t worn in a while,
and pulled a strand of hair caught in it. The hair, my hair, was long, past
shoulder length. It was from before I was sick. Before my hair fell out.
It was like seeing a unicorn. Evidence of a mythical time. A
time called, “Before.”
It existed. I existed.
The cancer chapter isn’t closed. I don’t know if it ever
does.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t take action and strides and
make use of the persistent lesson to live.
I am proud of the
woman I have become and continue to evolve into. I know she exists now. And
maybe she always did. 

healing · joy · recovery · relationships · self-preservation · trauma

Recalibrating the Bar.

Normal
0
0
1
521
2975
24
5
3653
11.1287

0

0
0

Surely, normal is relative. I read some of my blogs about my
past, and I think, Jesus, this is not
what “normal” people have dealt with. I listen to some of my acquaintances
share their histories, and I think, “Thank god things weren’t that bad with
me.”
In some comparisons, my life has been saner and pretty charmed; in other comparisons, it’s been dysfunctional and tragic.
Yesterday, I came home from hearing tell of someone’s tragic
past, “worse” than mine. Then I picked up where I left off in Autobiography
of a Face
, because surely the story of a
little girl’s jaw sawn off through cancer is “worse” than my own story.
And I decided then, it is time for me to recalibrate my bar for
normal and dysfunction.
I was feeling activated by the story I’d heard earlier in
the evening. I was feeling protective of the children that story was being told
to, and I was experiencing a hardening in my chest, made of anger and
self-protection against the terror of that story.
And despite the fact that things in my life have been on the
plus and minus side of well-being, I think it’s time for me to start marching
toward those people and experiences that don’t trade in trauma.
There tends to be a uniting force among those in my crowd,
knowing that we’ve, most of us, come from some kind of trauma. Wherever that
may fall on the spectrum of horror. But, we feel an understanding with one
another on the basis of a shared experience, and sometimes this unification
posits us against more “normal” folk, folks who perhaps didn’t come from that seething primordial ooze.
The problem, and I’ve contemplated it before, is that when
you trade in trauma, there’s no value in happiness. When you bond over tragedy,
how do you boast your success?
Over the last few years, my threshold for violence and gore
has lowered dramatically. Even “silly” crime t.v. shows that used to be my
favorites, I’ve had to eliminate from my visual diet. I just can’t stomach
them anymore.
As time has passed, I’ve become more aware and attuned to
when those shows or images are getting to me – when I’m cringing, or closing my
eyes – and I’ve taken note of those cues, and begun to drop them from my cue.
It feels the same to me with these stories that are around
me.
I read Autobiography
last night, despite knowing that I didn’t want to read it. The language is
beautiful, the plot is compelling; by all counts, it’s a well-crafted book. But
I don’t think I want to read any more – in fact, I know that, and I’m going to
have to decide if I heed that information or not.
The same is true with some of the stories I hear around me.
It’s going to be up to me to begin either seeking out or attracting into my
life people, not who don’t have those
stories of trauma in their past, but who don’t feel compelled to broadcast them.
Who don’t feel compelled to do so inappropriately.
I am not saying that I will only surround myself with
“normal” folks, or that the stories of our pasts are not important. I am,
however, saying that my trauma meter is full, and I need to back away from
media or people who will put it over the edge because of their own hemorrhaging boundaries.
I am, of course, an advocate for sharing of ourselves, as you’ve read over and over in my blog, but I stand behind the knowledge and hope that others click to read this on purpose, that this blog is chosen as a media source
for them, that I’m not dumping it on anyone. I also think perhaps it is time for me to begin walking farther
away from the retelling of these stories, as repetition keeps them powerful.
I don’t know what the line of balance is between honesty and
appropriateness. But I do know there is one.  

amends · avoidance · change · father · fear · healing · health · isolation · relationships · self-support · truth

Excising a Lily-Liver

Normal
0
0
1
1007
5741
47
11
7050
11.1287

0

0
0

As part of my personal work, I am called to amend
relationships in my life that are in need of clarity and repair.
As part of that work, I broke down my list of these people
into three categories: People I fall out of touch with; Men I intrigue with;
and My dad.
I’ve begun the work on those I’ve fallen out of touch with –
it’s usually out of a habitual belief that I’m not good enough to show up for
relationships and I self-prophesize that by allowing relationships that I value
fall away. These are relatively easy to repair, and by doing so, I get to
challenge these false and long-held beliefs by being consistent, responsible, and focused on the truth.
Amending my relationships with the second set of humans is
more … well, I was going to say more difficult, but it’s not more “difficult,”
it’s just harder because I have more invested in those. If you don’t know what
intriguing is, it’s those little flirtations, vaguely flirtatious texts or
conversations, or over-active “likings” of someone else’s Facebook page in a “winking” kinda way. It’s, for
me, engaging in flirtatious behavior with people I don’t want to go any further
with, and sometimes with people I have no interest in, but who I know I can reach out
to when my self-esteem meter is low for a little infusion of “See, I have value:
he wants me,” and a little hit of adrenaline from the oblique exchange.
This is a very old habit. And it’s excruciatingly unfair to
both the men and to myself, especially any of those who think there’s still a
shot. It’s unfair to me, because I continue to feed the delusion that my
self-esteem comes from others, and to crowd the field of actual potential
partners with distractions – albeit often very handsome, talented and
hilarious distractions.
Since the time that I wrote down the half dozen or so names
of those with whom I was actively engaging in this behavior, about half have
simply fallen away through circumstance and lack of my engaging. They’re
intrigues, not relationships usually, so they don’t require some big
conversation like, “Hey, I’m trying to be more clear in my relationships, and I
just want to say that I really appreciate you as a friend, and that I see us just being friends in the future.”
The funny thing about saying this is that, when I’ve given that speech in the past, usually the response is, “Yeah, totally! I don’t even know what
you’re talking about.” Which is fine. I
love you and your egos, and I will help preserve them too; I’m not here to bust
your balls. I’m just here to offer us both some clarity and let us both off the
carousel of “Will we/Won’t we” so that we can get on with our lives.
But. For some of the people on my current list, that
conversation is necessary, and in a truncated, “light” version, I
had that talk with one of these men recently. And the backlash from it was … well,
people don’t like when you change the rules in the middle of the game. And I’m
having to show up for the fall-out of that, even though I just want to avoid
it. I participated in the game, I should participate in the dénouement.—Oh, but
how much easier to Cut & Run!! Oh, old M.O., how I love you! … and miss you.
Because I don’t really do or want to do that anymore. See:
first subset of humans: retracting from relationships because I don’t believe I
can show up.
It’s the same underlying belief in this second category. 
More will be revealed, and I have some writing to do and a conversation to have
with some for whom I’ve changed the rules. It’s not comfortable, but neither
is predicating a relationship on false hope.
The final category, I see now, has its foundation in the
self-same belief that I can’t show up for relationships. In this case, with my
dad, I’m being asked to be honest with him in a way that frightens the shit out
of me.
I would LOVE to lie,
avoid, detach, retreat, and retract. But each and every day since the
invitation to his wedding came in over the phone, I’ve been called to take a
different course. Because, I
have been using the above mechanisms for how to
manage this relationship. I’ve
been
detached and retracted, and avoidant. And, much like with the men, I’ve created a
game that I don’t want to play. One in which my dad thinks I want or can have a
relationship with him.
To tangent:
This morning, I will get an ultrasound of my liver to confirm or disconfirm cirrhosis. About
two months ago, my liver enzymes came up elevated, and although I simply think
it’s my body’s reparation from 6 months of chemo a bit more than a year ago, I
am also very aware that in Chinese medicine, the liver is the seat of anger.
And two months ago, I was very angry. For a long time. And this dad stuff only
serves to aggravate it.
I was at my therapist’s last Wednesday, and I told her that
I would really love to be able to forgive him, but I am not able to do that.
I’m terrified that my lack of forgiveness for him is perpetuating the problems
in my life, and creating holes in the foundation of my life and relationships
and happiness — and my health.
I told her, it’s astonishing to me that I can have
forgiveness for my rapists, but not have any for him. Compassion, I have in
crateloads. I know how this person came to be, and it’s a sad state of affairs.
But, no matter what modes of self repair I try, I can’t find my way to
forgiving him, and I feel that I need to
in order to move on with my life.
She said something critically important: You can’t
manufacture forgiveness.
If I’m not there, then I’m not there.
“But what about that he’s getting older, and what if he dies
and this is unresolved?”
You can’t manufacture forgiveness.
I can’t bully or force myself into a feeling that I don’t
have. She said that I have some word she couldn’t place that indicates deep disappointment. And betrayal. And this is true.
And I would love to “get over it.” But I’m not there yet,
and beating myself up for not being at a place where I’m not doesn’t help me
get there quicker.
I honestly don’t know if I’ll get to this place this
lifetime. The very last time I was vulnerable to him and depended on him, he
used it as a later opportunity to shame me for not being the daughter he wants. This
is a Catch-22 relationship.
But. It’s not.
The catch is that I have to be willing to show up with my
truth, which, like my friends and like those men, is that I don’t like who I’m
being in this relationship, and it’s harming me. I don’t like to show up in a
falsetto range “happy” conversation with him, when that’s not at all true for
me, and so I avoid the conversations. But, he’s pressing now, and there’s a
deadline.
The truth will out, as Shakespeare wrote. The work on my part
will be to get ready to deliver it. To get ready by remembering I’m acting in
an esteemable way by showing up for my part of the relationship. I’m also
working on steadying myself for the fallout, of which I anticipate there will
be much.
Again, people don’t like when you change the rules in the
middle of the game.
But this was a game I started playing when I was a child.
The rules have changed. It’s time for me
to let the other players know. 

To let them know I’ve stopped playing. 

abundance · community · faith · friends · friendship · gratitude · healing · joy · life · love · support

Card Reading

Normal
0
0
1
970
5532
46
11
6793
11.1287

0

0
0

I had very specific plans for when I came home last night:
watch Apollo 13, “take care” of myself,
and go to bed by 10.
Only one of these happened.
For most of the day, I was out & about in lots of conversation with
lots of people, expending lots of up, outgoing energy, and I wanted to counter it with
some quietude. Before coming home for the evening, I was in a coffee shop,
finishing up some extra work, and addressing cards for some friends.
I didn’t have the address for one, so I texted her for it,
and told her that I must have 10 of her envelopes at home with her address on
it; in fact, I had one of hers on my mantle.
She asked me which one, but I couldn’t recall exactly, and
told her I’d send her a photo of it when I got home.
This, was the first domino toward the hijacking of my
evening.
I did come home, take a photo and send it to her, a lovely
decorated envelope with stickers and curly-cues and kind words, like all of
hers. Next to it on my mantle (well, the top of a bookshelf, really) were a
card from the director and one from the assistant director of the play I was in
in April, with deliciously glowing, appreciative, complimentary, and supportive
words. Such kindness and such a reflection of my being “seen” by them, in one
of my aspiring avocations. The last one up there was a thank you card from my
best friend on Long Island’s wedding, thanking me for being there and what a
treat it was to have me there, literally in her bed, the night before the
wedding, and helping/watching her get ready the next day; that it wouldn’t have
been the same without me.
You can see why I keep these things.
But, it was also time to probably pack them away, do some
cleaning. And I wanted to send more photos of my friend’s envelopes to
her, since I knew she was in a space to need her own (literal) sparkle reflected back to her. 
And, down the rabbit hole we go, into the desk drawer where I keep
cards, envelopes so I can remember return addresses (yes, I know there’s a
better way), and art inspiration bits, like postcards from galleries or pages
torn from magazines.
I’ve known this drawer needs attending to. If, god forbid, I
were to croak, it would be hell for the person cleaning it out, and I know
they’d just trash the lot, since, who keeps someone else’s old greeting cards.
But, also, it’s unusably full at the moment. Because in it,
too, are all the cards I received when I was initially diagnosed with Leukemia
in late September 2012, and also a host of them came in around the
Hanukkah/Christmas season that year.
I’ve been avoiding having to carve through them. Because how
can you discard those messages?
When I was sick, I lined all the cards up on the walls of my
hospital room. I taped every single one up around me, to remind me of the
network of support and love that I had. Each card, a message of love, faith,
healing, fortitude, just for me. You couldn’t come into my hospital room
without immediately knowing that I was loved. And how f’ing important was that.
This was not the room of a dying woman. This was not the
room of a woman told she had a 40% chance of living through the next 5 years, even with treatment.
This was not the room, either, of a woman who looked like a patient, despite
the baldness, weightloss, and IV stuck into my arm and chest. I wore jeans and a
sweater, like everyone else. I was a human, not a patient. I was a woman loved,
not a pity case.
How rallyingly important was that to know, feel, and
remember every single day.
But, when the trips to the hospital were finally over, and
it was time to reacclimate to living in my apartment full-time, what to do with
those cards?
I’m a keeper of things. Sentiments, magazine pages,
interesting rocks I find on a mountain or beach. I wouldn’t say I’m a hoarder,
but I do have a bag of gently used tissue paper in my closet … but it’s folded
neatly and in color blocks, so it’s okay, right?!
I also have a bag in my closet of the covers to theater
booklets of plays I’ve been to; movie stubs; plane tickets; the brochure for a
place I went camping or an attraction I toured.
The trouble is, I’m not a scrap-booker, so I just kinda
carry this bag of non-chronologically ordered “crap” with me from home to home.
But, that’s okay. One day, like the cards, I’ll go through them.
But, last night was for the card drawer.
It was slow-going. I had to take a deep breath before taking
the rubber band from around the batch of 2012 holiday cards. I knew this was
going to take a while and probably bring things up.
But I began. And with each card, I was reminded of why I’d
kept them until now.
Here’s the one from my college classmate, now in LA, saying she’d
enclosed a gift card to Trader Joes.
Here’s one from a former colleague saying she loves getting
the bloggish updates I was posting then to my lotsahelpinghands website.
Here’s one handwritten from an Etsy company saying “a friend”
was thinking of me and wanted me to stay warm. This, I remember, accompanied a
package of 6 “chemo caps” ranging from thin to thick, the one I wore most, a
fuzzy leopard print that kept me feeling fun and warm. I still don’t know who
sent those, as there was no name. Thank you, whoever you are.
Last night, with each, if I knew the sender and their cell number, I
took a photo of the card, and sent it as a text with a note of thanks to them.
Each text, a reminder to us both of what friendship means, even for people who
aren’t close.
It was nearly 11 when I finally decided to stop. I’ve
barely made a dent into the drawer. But was able to cull a few things out,
deciding that with some, having a photo of them now is enough.
At the closing of this activity, I found myself in soft tears of
gratitude. So many people surrounded me
with love. With funny cards and sentiments, with crazy wacked-out envelopes, with heartfelt messages of hope and healing. And only a handful of these folks
were people I keep in regular touch with. So many people came out of the
woodwork to support me.
I was told once during the time I was sick, that I had no
idea how many people were rooting for me. I agreed. I knew I had no idea, and I
knew that was astounding and one of the greatest showings of human generosity
that I’ve witnessed.
I had priests, rabbis, Muslims, and Buddhists praying for
me. My mom’s hairdresser and my Aunt’s student. I had a class of
kindergarteners praying for me.
I remember, too, when I was sick, trying to figure out how I
could send thank you cards to everyone who’d contacted me, but I could only
handle a few.
In this retread through the cards, in sending them back out
to their sender with my note of thanks, I hope I am closing that loop of love,
and letting you all know:

Your prayers worked, and I love you back.