Friday, June 24, 2011

Ordinarily

Ordinarily I don't like it when people send me those forwarded-forwarded-forwarded emails. Ordinarily I consider them a waste of time and often delete them without opening them. But lately a dear friend who knows what it's like to be facing an illness like cancer has been sending them regularly. She has picked beautiful pictures, inspirational thoughts and, best of all, laugh-out-loud jokes. I've been reading them and I must admit I've even gotten to the point where I look forward to finding one in my inbox each day.

I guess my idea of wasted time has shifted a bit. I stare out the front window of our home more often, just to watch the wind ripple on the pond across the street - (I call it pondering ;0 ). Each time I walk by them I lean down to smell the flowers my husband bought for me last week when I had to spend the day having tests at the hospital. I scratch my cat's ears more than I used to. I stand on our back deck, watch the clouds and listen to the laughter of our neighbour's children. I lay awake in the morning and stare at the outline of my husband's face in the early morning sun. The accumulation of these little things seems to make a difference as life has slowed into a rhythm of waiting.

I've also found that scriptures - those oh-so- familiar passages that can seem trite or even cliché at times - have a whole new depth now that I have a deeper understanding of my need for them. I get regular emails with scripture delivered to my inbox too, and I open them first. The accumulation of verses seems to make a difference when my mood slips a little, when my heart is longing for something beyond this reality to hang onto.

One of the passages that arrived recently was this one from Philippians 4:8 -"whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ... if anything is excellent or praiseworthy... think about such things."

I noticed there was no action connected to this passage, just thinking. You can do that anytime, anywhere, but to do it deeply you have to slow down a little. You have to pause, perhaps stare out a window at a small pond, and just think.

Ordinarily I wouldn't be doing such things. My life would be bustling with urgencies like deadlines and projects and to-do lists. But there is nothing ordinary about living with cancer. It changes things. It changes you. Ordinarily I would think that a bad thing but now I treasure it. I treasure the tingling awareness of this world now that I now how tenuous my hold on it really is. I treasure the small things, the pondering.

Interesting - I seem to be smiling a lot.