Serious illness changes us. We find ourselves on a fast track to transformation (whether we like it or not), and there’s no way of knowing who we’ll become as we shed the old “me”. Today I feel like a seed that’s just beginning to sprout. I’m in the dark, longing to reach the light that beckons me to break through and blossom into – what?
We can gather our courage and obey, or wither and perish. Scary, isn’t it? These days, if I resist the moment-to-moment call to be fully open to seeing things in a new way, everything suddenly stops flowing and I feel stifled and anxious. I think that’s nature, goodness, life, saying “change - live!” So I’m gazing at the brilliant maples and birches a lot lately, observing the graceful ease with which they cease to be summer trees, and become autumn trees. And how, when the leaves have finally fallen, the magnificent, unfathomable architecture of trunk and twig is revealed.
Illness brings with it a certain burden, yet it also has a way of stripping us of all the weight of illusion, obligation and expectation we’ve been accustomed to shouldering. Therein lies an immense gift: it’s our big chance to break free. What will happen if we allow this transformation? And of our many relationships, which ones will flourish in this new freedom, and which will fade? Are we ready for the possibility that some of the people we’re close to may not elect to make the change with us? Even more important, are we prepared for the possibility of finding love and community in places we have never looked before, in ways we’ve never experienced?
There is an immediacy to life when we finally comprehend how easily it might be lost; an intimate, beautiful wildness. I can no longer tame my days, or myself, into something neutral and “acceptable”. I hope you won’t, either. I hope if we ever meet on the street it will be as wide-awake, fully lit-up souls with selfless courage in our hearts and love in our eyes.
I’ll be the one in the red shoes.
With love, rosemary