Ambushed

I have so much to think about and so little time to figure out what I’m thinking. Even in writing down my thoughts I hardly know where to begin, and not just this time. I can’t seem to start a thought that goes anywhere but everywhere. It’s as if it’s all just noise up there rattling around in my head. It won’t come together.

It feels curious and cruel to have to go through life as if life is unchanged when in fact it is changed entirely. Work, grocery shopping, sleep and showers and running errands are right there alongside the doctor appointments and the surgeries and the medications and the prognosis and odds of this and risk of that. It’s as if someone unwelcome has moved in. And he’s not just living in your house; he’s wearing your clothes and eating your food.

Ruthie is sleeping now, but not until a day of storm and rain extracted many tears. It is just now the third day after surgery. The day (of surgery) itself was pleasant compared to what the last 24 hours has been. Perhaps it is because of the way you try to settle back into your routine, but your routine is simply not possible. There are too many variations on it—the pain, the medications, the confinement, the drain sticking out of your side, the obligation to tell four dozen people what’s up, the next appointment and the confusion surrounding it, the siren call of work which never takes a day off. Everybody tells you to get some rest, but even the word “rest” double-crosses you, since now it means “to recover,” which is no rest at all but just an attempt to keep the pain at bay while your body works feverishly (literally) to set things back to normal.

Everybody tells us to rest. I’m not ungrateful for what they are telling us; I am glad they say it. There is just no rest to be gotten.

Still, the kindness behind it all…. Jonathan taking care of the dogs while I’m gone; John and Lori and Debbi taking the dogs when Jonathan can’t be there; Dave and Susan and Craig taking over the lawn mowing; all the folks at Mt. Level ambushing us with hugs and phone numbers, even though we have only just arrived and given nothing; all the Wymers letting me tell my story at reunion and asking to stow away on our journey; countless others just calling or sending a message to let us know we’re not alone. I did not expect any of it. I have been no good friend to anyone, let alone them, and yet here they are. Would I have known otherwise?

It does no good, as far as I can see, to ask why. I’m not even sure they themselves know.

The thought I couldn’t form has formed itself for me: You cannot nurture cynicism in the face of opposition like this. Cynicism is helpless against care and selflessness. One sacrifices for another, and hope is born—not when one starts to scratch a back; not when one pays the other (either back or forward); not when two share the load; not when things are fair. No, in a world of give and take, the sum is always zero; nobody gets anything but jaded. It is when I do for you what is good for you, just to be good to you, and for no benefit of my own at all, that the specter in you dies.

That’s thought enough for now.