An old college friend of mine has cancer.
The morning I found out (on Facebook) I got angry.
She’s writing about it. “How fuckin’ courageous,” I thought.
She is snarky and honest and raw and emotional and every bit of it leaves me in awe of the person she is.
But there is still this anger.
I haven’t seen her in YEARS. We met through mutual friends. We never actually hung out together. If we were “together” it was because one of our mutual friends was present.
At the end of our freshman year, I hitched a ride home with her. She’s from Toronto and was heading straight up I-75N from Florida. She would pass within 50 miles of my house. I wouldn’t have to trouble my parents and she would have an extra driver. It just made sense.
I still laugh at how much stuff we crammed into her little Dodge Omni and how scared I was driving around Atlanta, with her in the passenger seat, reassuring me that we were not going to die.
My parents were so grateful that she helped them out by bringing me home and always asked about her, even years later.
I’ve seen her once since 1984.
Thanks to social media, we reconnected. And I’ve been grateful to exchange emails with someone I remember so fondly.
Somehow we get each other. Even after all these years.
But this cancer thing pisses me off.
Not because I’m afraid of death. But because I can’t stop her suffering.
Or anyone else’s.
How is it that death doesn’t disturb me but life does?
I mean, that sometimes, life just sucks.
I fucking hate that I can’t do anything to change that.
As I ventured outside today to get the five minutes of fresh air I allow myself each day since moving to Texas, every step was like a drum beat in my head…
And then I realized what I was doing.
For all my spiritual growth, I want to prevent people (myself included) from having a full human experience.
Being human doesn’t just mean happy, happy, joy, joy, all the time.
Being fully human sometimes means feeling the shit. Rolling around in it. Cursing god for it.
Allowing yourself to be in the pit of despair feeling vulnerable, unsupported.
Completely fucking helpless.
It is in those places when we can come face-to-face with who we really are.
And who the hell do I think I am to want to just sit here and tell you just how fucking fabulous you are, that all this crap about you being unworthy and not enough and a “sinner” and an abomination and whatever other fucking story you have running around in your head is one big motha’ fucking lie?
Who am I to think I have some right to keep you from having to go to the pit to find it out for yourself?
So, I surrender.
I surrender to the wisdom that surpasses my own understanding.
I have no idea why she has cancer.
I can’t fix it.
But I can be there, if she needs me, every step of the way. Celebrating her glorious journey.
It’s not my place to make it “wrong.”
My place is to embrace that when it sucks, I’m human enough to accept what is.