Things happen fast. Thoughts happen even faster. The thought, that one you’re thinking right now, that’s who you are. In this minute right here, that thought defines you. And here’s where it starts to get real; this minute, the one we’re living right now, it’s the only one with any real power.
What’s with the philosophy all the sudden? Right. Well, I’m going to tell you. It’s been kind of a tough few weeks here in Fairytale Village. I generally try to keep this blog all rainbows and lollypops, but one of the things I hope to accomplish by writing books is to build an online community — of writers and readers, yes — but also of people who crave a space in which to be authentic, to share their triumphs and victories, as well as their sorrows and setbacks. I can’t build a community like that on a shallow foundation. It just won’t support the weight of real lives honestly lived, so it’s time to drill down.
Having your supposedly stable income yanked out from under you sucks. Working hard and playing by the established rules and still losing the game sucks. You know what else really sucks? Brain tumors. Brain tumors really, really suck. Having had eight of them, I can say this with absolute certainty. Brain tumors are why these last few weeks sucked. It was time for my check up with my neurosurgeon. He’s an awesome doctor and a likable guy (a rare combination in a group of people who choose to make a living by cutting open brains), but he’s also extremely scary because he has the power to give me the news I dread more than anything — even more than the zombie apocalypse or a Rand Paul presidency. Another brain surgery.
I spend the days leading up to these appointments in a state of near constant prayer, though not the total immersion kind of prayer that I imagine monastics practice. I have a life and kids and responsibilities after all, and I think God understands that. It’s not the bargaining kind of prayer, wherein I haggle and barter for a good report and in exchange I promise to work for world peace, eat my vegetables, go to church, and clean up my language. God knows about my potty mouth and my suspicion of organized religion, and frankly, I don’t think she’s that bothered by it. My brand of prayer consists of being aware of every moment for the blessing it is and giving thanks for all of it. That might be a paltry prayer indeed by some standards, but it’s how I roll. Taking stock of my life in this way makes me feel both infinitesimally small and infinitely large, and there in the midst of that dichotomy is where I find God. She’s a trickster, that God of mine.
As I tried to keep my mind from spiraling into worry and dread, the practice of gratitude kept me both upright and grounded. I’m grateful that Michael could accompany me on my series of appointments without our usual fretting over vacation days, F.M.L.A. paperwork, and making up time on the weekends. I’m grateful that he’s home in the evenings to read books to the kids before they’re too tired to enjoy the experience. I’m grateful that the prayer I prayed long ago that someday, people would read my stories, has been answered. Most of all, I’m grateful that I left my neurosurgeons office without a surgery date. “Come back in a year” was the doc’s verdict.
I wonder how many books I can write in a year.