Monday, October 04, 2010

Thinking about resurrection

I meant to go to church yesterday, but threw up from lingering chemo-nausea so I stayed home. I ended up spending the entire day reading my blog. I didn’t mean to, but there I was. It helps me to go to some of those places sometimes—not to live there, but to visit. And I hadn’t read everything straight back to diagnosis in a long time.

I found so many references to resurrection. Including this one, from that first spring:

True resurrection is total: body, soul, mind, speech, will, intention. You wake up. You take a deep, long, healing breath. You unbind the cloths from around your body. You stretch your muscles, shake your bones. Scarred, but no longer bleeding, you walk into the light.

I was diagnosed during Easter season, and was very aware of it. I knew what I was talking about; the context was building a life, living in a way that I’d choose. But like all the rest of them, this reference is physical.

I may have just last week beaten cancer again. Or I may not have. Chances are it isn’t final, but yes of course I hope. And I’ve been thinking. When I was diagnosed the first time, I knew within a week that I would survive. My year with interferon was epic, but I knew I’d get through it, and I did. I was given a diagnosis this past June, that gives me until the week after Thanksgiving if I take it literally. I’m going to outlive that too. My tumors will likely grow again, but they may not. I may build my life and get to keep it. I can’t quite imagine that, but it could happen.

When I was diagnosed again, I was struck by not knowing anymore what resurrection meant. Here I was, fighting cancer twice. What does it mean to hold onto that particular hope, when your body is anything but certain of it? And now, given last week’s reprieve, I’m rejoicing again. But I don’t want my faith to be that conditional.

I’m not at a point where I know the disease will kill me. But remembering that, I’m reminded that we all will die. All I know about the afterlife is that God is love. I don’t think about it, or worry about it, ever. That isn’t what I’m getting at.

I’m thinking about resurrection and loving this life and knowing you’re going to lose it. I don’t even know how to frame my question, other than how do you claim that hope irrespective of your own body? How do you say the ultimate Yes to life, knowing that you yourself are going to die?

I have an appointment with my spiritual director in Sac today, on my way to the Ranch. I have tons of other things to talk with her about. But I was going to stop at the library up there and pick up Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals. I’m taking Bonhoeffer with me instead. Thank you, Margaret, for the idea. I don’t know how I’ve never read him.


Caminante said...

On this feast day of blessed Francis, I pray that his spirit of wonder in all of creation, his total abandon to God and his joy of life may infuse you with hope (in the Christian sense). May the ranch also nourish you. xo

it's margaret said...

Throw a rock in the gully behind the big house for me. Enjoy the tree house --and I can't wait to hear what you think about Bonhoeffer!

claire said...

Cancer, much lighter than yours, beautiful child, taught, helped to tame my fear of death.

Like in The Little Prince, where the fox tells him 'come and see me every day so that soon I will recognize your footstep and rejoice at your coming.'

I like your description of Resurrection. Yes, Godde is love...

I had once a nano-moment of death experience, even though I was in no danger of dying. It felt like a gift, a glimpse into death, or rather dying.

Suddenly, utter freedom and the possibility of going anywhere I wanted. The boundlessness of feeling disembodied...

It is good that you read your blog. You can the Spirit's handwriting all through.

It is so good to have you hear with us. Thank you Godde for you!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, meaningful blog. I always look forward to your thoughts and am often moved to tears. Sending prayers to you.