Friday, June 25, 2010

More thoughts on resurrection

I’ve been trying too hard. I was walking around this morning thinking, “Isaac, Lazarus, Jesus... what do I do with this?” The only way I know how to interpret anything that matters is story. It's the opposite of preaching. I’m not given a text and a week to prepare. I’m given my own being, as context and form to shape any way I want to. Sacred stories are stars to navigate by. They are the brightest lights I have.

I can’t preach resurrection with my body or my words. I haven’t died. One of the most perceptive people I know told me yesterday, how strong and grounded I was over the phone. She would know—and she wouldn’t tell me if it weren’t so. And she’s right. I haven’t been to the truly dark and terrifying places. I know how loved I am, and that love is lifting me up. I know whose strong shoulders carry the weight with me, and for me. I trust them absolutely.

Love is letting me stand in a place of total unknowing, and feel safe.

I have to give myself permission to wander down the paths I need to. I need to poke a stick into the spider webs. You can’t rise up, when you’re already standing here. It's an incongruous thing to do on a gorgeous, perfectly temperate summer day, but I have some time before dinner. I think I'm going to walk with all of this, after I post it.

I really don’t want to do chemotherapy. I don’t want to go 400 miles away from almost everyone I know, so I can have the privilege of throwing up everywhere. I’m doing it because, as another of my clergy says, “we’re hard-wired for life.” I couldn’t consider not doing this. I am so damn grateful that I have health insurance. My oncologist is a tiger; that’s why I trust him.

I don’t know what I would do if I were given my life back. If, after my third admission, they tell me it’s working—I have no idea how I would hear that. Maybe I need to feel it in my body before I can imagine that reprieve. I don’t know. I’m not even wondering how to be normal—I have no idea how to take that information and live. I don’t know if I’d be rejoicing or completely undone. I suspect, a whole lot of both.

And what if it doesn’t work? What if they tell me, we’re sorry, but you’re one of the majority whom this doesn’t help? The options after that are a clinical trial or palliative care. I’ve imagined that so many times, just to prepare for it. I can tell you easily that I’m not afraid of death. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. I've been sick from cancer treatment before. But I’ve never been close to physically dying. I’ve never embodied that exact space. I haven’t heard the words spoken to me, “We can’t do any more to help you.” I keep them at an emotional distance.

It’s back to body wisdom again. I can only speak from what I know. And right now I know that I’m sleepy in the middle of the day, because I don’t get enough rest at night. The same spot on my chest still feels tender. I still get winded more easily than I remember. I still can’t tell if my chest feels tight because I’m stressed, or if I’m less able physically to breathe deeply. My doctor didn’t say it was a problem, so maybe it’s my perception. It just occurred to me, at 3:30 p.m., that I haven’t had a headache all day.

I need to let myself go to all the places I don't want to go. I need to let my emotions feel the fear my body shivers from. Then I can talk about it. I will know what it is to walk into death, and to live.

I need to let my body be my teacher, now. And even that thought is healing. I'm being asked to listen. I'm being given an approach to respect my body, not to hate it. I can't be angry at her, while I'm sitting at her feet.


LKT said...

Prayers continue. I hope you know how many are with you.

Kirstin said...

I do, Laura. Thank you.

Carmel said...

Kirstin, I read these writings of yours and I just marvel at your courage. You've been through so much in your life -- things that could easily have made you curl up in a corner and shut yourself off from life, from love, from faith. And no one would have blamed you if you'd done exactly that. Yet here you are: aware, determined, facing what you fear. I'm awed by that. And I wish I had sufficent words to tell you how much I love you and am pulling for you.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Continuing Prayers ascending!

Kirstin, I think the witness you have made of you life is important to us all! Your courage and determination! Love!

Two Auntees said...

Continuing to send love and prayers.

Caminante said...

Dear Kirstin,

Checking in after this week with the clergy from Haiti... I pray for you (throughout the day, those little prayer thoughts that are wordless).

Your words are those to which I must return again and again to absorb.


it's margaret said...

"I’m not given a text and a week to prepare. I’m given my own being..."

Dang.... you are thinking/living/experiencing resurrection and incarnation all at once.... good on ya.

Love you m'dear.

Kirstin said...

Incarnation I can definitely do. Maybe I should focus there.

Love to all. Thank you for being here.

Lisa Fox said...

Let me start with a little recollection:

I love springtime. I love the sequence through which things come back to live after the long, dreary, brown of mid-Missouri winter. Almost every year, there comes a day where I realize that spring has turned to summer. And almost every year, I think, "Dang! I didn't pay enough attention to springtime, and now it's gone."

In this crappy time, you have been given at least this one gift. [Yes, I know there are many others.] You do feel well, and you are being conscious of how good that feels, of the joys in your life, of the beauty around you. I hear you drinking them in with all your senses -- with a passion that verges on lust for the good, the beautiful, the whole and the holy.

I thank God that you have this time of wholeness and holiness.

I also thank you for the brave living and writing that you are doing.

Kirstin said...

Lisa, thank you for that. And for seeing it.

Lisa Fox said...

I'm with, my sistuh ... even though I really can't fully know what you're going through.

You're in my heart ...