After a while, you start to wonder nervously what else is in store for you. What else will you have overcome by the time you get to journey's end? It's not surprising that we feel a little fearful every time we can't see around the next corner.
My friend has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She is a little younger than me, with children around the same age. I have just spoken to her on the phone - I checked in because tomorrow is her surgery. She's going to have her thyroid removed, along with the tumour that has grown in her throat.
If this were happening to me, I think to myself, I wouldn't sleep all night. I would wander the house like a restless spirit. She says "I won't have trouble sleeping...I'm a good sleeper. I'm already tired."
I hope so.
I remember that Sandy emailed me the night before her surgery. She said
I tried to read. Can't. Tried to watch TV. Can't. Long hours of night stretch before me, and I don't know how I'll reach the end. I think I'll start that blog - how do I get going?
It makes me think that we are so frail and lovely, we humans. So fragile and frightened. It's terrifying when things happen to our bodies. When we're facing it, our souls reach out. We start conversations. We start blogs. We write letters which we may never send. We crave communion.
C.S. Lewis famously said: You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.
It's true. And how does this change me? How does this change the way we live, and the way we face our fragility: our mortality?
* * *
Christmas is ten days away. I have gingerbread dough chilling in the fridge.
My tree is up.
And I'm praying for my friend, whose Christmas has already gotten lost. Next Christmas, may she be up to her elbows in flour, hiding her children's presents, talking on the phone to her sister, and looking back on tonight, thinking 'How long ago it all seems!'