This luminous moment

Laura Weaver, USA

Director of Writing and Programs, PassageWorks Institute. http://passageworks.org/

(Submitted by the author)

It was a day in February - a day like any other day. Cold, clear skies blazing behind the Rocky Mountains. People sipping coffee in cafés. Toddlers laughing on park swings. And an MRI film on a screen before me, showing a large tumor in my pituitary gland. Benign, the doctor said. But the tumor was pushing against my pituitary stalk, driving upwards towards my optic nerves, and edging towards my carotid arteries. Something shifted in me. I was facing a major health crisis, and I was only 35 years old.

Then came the hours of research. The grieving. The begging. The pleading. The hoping for miracles. The months of alternative therapies, only to find that, a year later, the tumor had grown, not diminished. I was facing my biggest fear - brain surgery. I was going to have to stare into the face of illness and vulnerability and death and say yes, I will go there, because there is no other choice.

Emerging from the anesthesia, I was ecstatic. I had made it, survived - and I had felt held, truly cradled by a force much greater than myself. I sighed with relief - the ordeal was over. Slowly, life resumed. I worked, wrote, laughed, cooked. I held my children closer, breathed them in like the rarest air. Slowly I returned, stepping back into the flow of the speedy world, and life became common again.

A year later, another MRI in hand, I listened as the doctor announced that the tumor had quickly regrown. Lightning had struck twice, and I was blown open by the force of it. Again I replayed the scene: the down-on-the-knees praying, the bargaining - I’ll do anything but this. But here it was. My hand to play.

“Alright,” I said, “I will do it again, because I must, and because the obstacles that come to us are the teachers we have - no matter how unjust or unwelcome they feel.” And so I underwent a second, more complex, more invasive surgery and came through it unscathed to the other side.

Now I am two months into my recovery, I see that healing is not just about illness or crisis. Healing is a life path - one we are walking, whether we notice or not, whether we like it or not.

Each day, there is the mystery. There are no guarantees. We simply never know. We are made humble again and again by the complexity of this exquisite planet, the intricacies of our own bodies, the spiraling of galaxies in deep space. And yet we forget. Over and over, we forget.

Eight weeks out from surgery, and already I have to remind myself to see, to really see - to listen to the rush of the snowmelt in the creek, follow the flickering light filtered through pines, trace the whirling patterns of snowflakes, breathe the scent of my lover’s hair, stroke my children’s soft faces. It is simple really. This luminous moment is all we have. And truly, it is all I have ever wanted.

Image credit: http://www.lexar.com/dp/gallery/

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