it's always something.
~roseanne roseannadanna (gilda radner)
and, of course, it is. sometimes it's a darn nuisance. sometimes it's soul shattering.
but it's always something. it's real life.
after gilda radner left saturday night live where she created some unforgettable, funny women characters--roseanne roseannadanna, emily litella--she set out to create a life for herself. for a decade she had been a successful workaholic as life whizzed by. falling in love with gene wilder helped her realize the pleasure of lowering gears. by the time they married in 1984, she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. always observant and knowing rich material when she found it, she began a book called portrait of the artist as a housewife, a collection of stories, poems, and vignettes celebrating domesticity and the humor inherent in toaster ovens and plumbers. it would have been hilarious.
but real life grabbed her attention with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and a grittier book emerged, it's always something, a defiantly irreverent, moving memoir. like other women who struggle with life-threatening illness, gilda mourned "my lost joy, my happiness, my exhilaration with life." the day before her diagnosis, life stretched before her, luminous in it's limitless possibilities. the moment after being told she had cancer, life's dimensions shrank to twenty-four-hour stretches.
in a moving essay contained in minding the body: women writers on body and soul, judy hooper rightly admonishes us: "we go around thinking that real life is about adding a rec room to the basement, but this is not about real life. cancer is real life. when we accept cancer, it is as if new systems within the organism automatically open--like the oxygen masks and flotation systems that automatically drop in your lap on a 747 in an emergency. when you walk this earth on borrowed time, each day on the calendar is a beloved friend you know for only a short time."
you begin to live.
why must we find a lump in our breast before this occurs? do you know? because i certainly don't. but i do know a wonderful woman who was very active at her children's school for many years, largely because after she had volunteered a generous amount of personal time, no one else came forward to take her place. the hours she put into her PTA related work were the equivalent of a full-time but unpaid second job. when she made the terrible discovery that she had breast cancer, she admitted to close friends that in a strange way, she was relieved. cancer meant she could start saying "no," create boundaries, and finally put down the school committee burden without guilt. now she could ransom back her life. after all, no one expects a woman fighting breast cancer to anything but take care of herself. of course, she was right.
when i heard this story i wanted to scream and cry: it was almost too much to take in. yes, it's always something. but it doesn't always have to have your name on it. i pray we never find a lump, but i pray just a fervently that we never squander or surrender another precious day for whatever reason.
and if you've already found a lump, i pray that you'll grow whole and old in joy, peace, and grace, gifting us for many years with your wisdom.
heaven knows, we need it.
~simple abundance: a daybook of comfort and joy.
in my decision to try and
this is what i want for myself.
not to have to feel guilty
when i say no.
not to feel guilty
when i take time for myself.
to not let bad people and money problems
take over my life.
to just enjoy life,
in some small way.
breast cancer awareness month.
my wish for me
and for you
is to take a hold of your life
and live it.
live it real.
on your terms...not cancer's...
or anybody else's terms.
welcome to coffee hour.
welcome to this Sunday morning.