Yesterday morning, I arrived at the diagnostic imaging department at the local hospital for an annual mammogram, grabbed a number and sat down. Routine. No big whoop. Just one of those important tasks to accomplish in the day in the life....
This is what I was thinking as I looked around at the other folks who were there for various x-rays, ultrasounds and boob looksees. In no time my number was called and I found myself sitting in front of the clerk as she verified my medicare number and home address in her computer, and made sure my name was on the list. It was her last question that sent a sharp kick into my gut...... "And your next of kin is still............?" I said "yes."
Well, he still is legally and I sure as heck didn't want to complicate the intake interview while trying to figure out who my next of kin is now. My kids aren't old enough. My family live in another province. Neither option was practical. So, I kept it simple. "Yes." The question and my answer flooded my thinking and feelings as I found myself sitting in a flimsy johnny shirt coldly wrapped around my naked torso, by the door to where the machinery was located. Alone. Processing my thoughts. In a place full of foreign sounds, sickness and stress, ongoing paging for emergency doctors, and smells one only inhales in the stark reality of a hospital, I felt the gut galloping shiver of vulnerability. My stark reality mirrored my environment.
I leaned back against the wall, closed my eyes and focused on breaths to take away the "reality hurt" until a warm hearted woman with a welcoming Maritime lilt in her voice called my name. It was my turn to have a few photos taken. My morbidly self absorbed thoughts quickly turned into wondering how in the hell they do that boob squishing procedure on anyone who wears an A or a B cup????
This is the year I turned 50. From the moment after the clock struck midnight to ring it in when I stood feeling like a pariah beside my husband at a party and there was no loving kiss forthcoming to this very moment as I try to capture the words flying out of my fingertips on this frosty morning.......... the last one of 2010, it has been a year of awakening to loud thunderous change.
Sometimes it has been so shockingly vibrant like when you get to the part in a mystery novel and all the pieces of the puzzle transform into BIG TRUTHS all at once. Oh! I can think of a few of those body churning events! Though I'm trying to let go of them, they are still the ones that pound on my temples at 4 am with demonic pleasure from time to time. Not nearly so often. Not nearly so often.
Most of the time, however, the thunderous change has been more like the WAKE UP surprise of POP Rocks sizzle bursting in your mouth. You know its going to happen. You just don't know when. When it does? Your eyes open a little wider, while your first thought is........ "What is that all about???" And, "Why did I just put Pop Rocks in my mouth when I know how uncomfortable they make me feel?" Sometimes someone slips a few of those candies into your tea when you're not looking. There you are attending to a routine task and kapow! One of those damn things explode and you're caught speechless........for a second.
"Your next of kin still is..........?"
This is life. It is a cache of awakening moments, some more seismic than others. Some more life altering than others. Mine aren't any different than anyone elses. My feelings and thoughts are not unique. It is what WE all share......... the ability to think and the blessing to FEEL always! From the monumental hurts to the ecstatic orgasms, and all the little poetic symphonies that are the very thread that binds the whomping biggies together. By sharing our hearts and minds, not only do we learn important lessons from one another that guide us to LOOKING and FEELING from a different perspective....a different reality, we become a part of one another's tapestry.
This is an awakened life unfolding. I am who I am because of the experiences I have encountered, embraced, denied, refused, stumbled upon, viewed, processed, created, mourned, celebrated, respected, rejected and reconciled. Just like you. We are offered up little Pop rock morsels.....events that seem inconsequential at first, but end up providing awareness to where we are in our journeys as a means to process the thunder changes. Shifts happen even when you're least expecting it. In the poetry of life.
Yesterday, I texted a friend of mine briefly sharing the hospital moment with her. She understood how it felt right away, and commented on how these moments makes one realize how the world registers you and how you see it differently too. In fact, she is the one who has helped me throughout the year "see" how poignancy preys in the grace notes of life.... I told her that I realized it is the poetry of life, not the long storied prose that meaning is found. Her response? "What's a poem if not volumes of truth packed into a single glance?" Blow me away! Gotta love a friend whom you share wisdom text messages with that are poetry too!
This year, the one when I turned 50? Well, it has been jam packed full of events...... poignant, pathetic, pulsating..... life altering snippets. I'm not at a point where I can say that I wouldn't change it if I could do it again. That would be silly. No one in their right mind wants to ever experience the deep gashes from being betrayed. However, I have laughed with more gusto, and wept with more intensity than I have ever imagined. I have been hugged more passionately, and cared for beyond what I ever thought I needed. Conversations that once skimmed the surfaces dove deep into heartfelt meaning. Until this year, I didn't realize just how much we can grow from an original place of pain into a garden of beauty. I have taken many risks, and every time I think of one I smile broadly because every single risk I took connected me to another beautiful human being and experienced some amazing adventures! WOW!
As well, I have inhaled air so beautifully thin as I have encountered a bouquet of spiritual compassion through the kindness of so many people in my life, and through the deeply quiet times I have been alone absorbing the goodness of a faith just waiting for me to embrace. Magical. Blessed. Loved. Lovable. Gee, I even learned that I am a bit sexy! Who knew????? Yeah, despite the pliable sagging breasts and the hands that look a thousand years old, I've got a sexy factor happenin'!
I have learned so much..... and hope that I have been able to pass on some of my lessons........
On this day, the last one of the year I turned 50-licious? I feel strong and whole, weak as well as yearning. A contradiction I am, I am. I see the poetry as truth in a single glance. And I know now how I will answer the question of who my next of kin is........ It doesn't matter who the name is. I walk with many. I walk with you. With a Holy Spirit to guide us along. Aren't we lucky?
Bring on the Pop rocks! Happy New Year.
ps. I have been keeping an eye on and a journal to capture many of these moments that have occured this year with the intention of pulling them together in a book......... I havent shared many of them on my blog because I haven't had a chance to digest them as much as I want to. Plus, I feel like when it is time to write it out fully, i want it to be fresh. But, let me tell you, the majority of them are bloody hilarious! Absurdity rules, as does my dark humour. Stay tuned!!!