after undergoing surgery,
after losing my hair,
after all of that, in spite of all of that,
I am happy, grateful, and dazzled by the gift that life is.
I told two dear friends on Sunday that there were days during chemotherapy when I thought I was not going to survive the treatments. There were days when I was lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, thinking, "This is going to kill me. I'm really going to die from this."
But, thanks be to God,
thanks be to you for your love and support,
thanks to my doctors, nurses, chiropractor, spiritual director,
thanks to my family, friends, neighbors,
here I am, still alive, and I'm pretty darn happy about it.
My eyes, my mind, my heart, my five senses are wide open.
Being bombarded by beauty everywhere I look.
For example -
* As I finished this morning's 2 mile walk, I looked across the street at my neighbor's lawn and saw a bird, a squirrel and a baby rabbit. Still. Quiet. Each doing their own thing. None of them paid any attention to me, so I stood in the street for a minute or two, staring. Amazing. The squirrel eventually went on its way. The bird flew off. The rabbit snuggled down in the grass for a morning nap.
* The other day I wondered - how to squirrels and birds know which tree is theirs? I wonder if they wonder how we know which house is ours.
* The sounds that birds make, the songs they sing - I don't listen to my ipod most days when I walk simply because I don't want to miss out on their music.
* The turtles swimming in the ponds in our neighborhood are a constant delight. They float in the water with their pointy heads above the surface and their stubby legs paddling gently below. Geese in family groups float nearby. My corner of suburban Charlotte feels like wild kingdom sometimes.
* While walking Maya earlier today, I noticed a small dragonfly with clear yellow wings. As it hovered and landed on a leaf on the driveway I noticed that the shadow it cast on our white driveway was also yellow. Beautiful.
* We've had rain every day for two weeks. Not constant rain, thank God, but periods of rain. Every day. Not that I'm complaining; I love rain. And I know that there are many southwestern states that would love a good rainy forecast - I'm praying that they will get lots of rain and SOON! Anyway, with all the rain here, there are many species of mushrooms growing in the neighborhood. The trees, bushes, flowers, and weeds are in full bloom.
* Sometimes I wonder about what God thinks of us spreading poison on the abundant grasses and plants he created simply because we have decided that some of them are "weeds."
* And don't get me started on the wonder of the clouds. Shades of gray and white. Wind-blown. Heavy. Dark. And so much water, so much water. I don't think we are in a drought anymore.
* We've had the dehumidifier going lately. That machine sucks a gallon or two of water out of the air every day. Out of the air! Am I the only one who thinks that's pretty cool and also a bit odd?
* My tastebuds are back, fully back. Sweet watermelon. Spicy taco salads. Tart cranberry juice. Fresh tomatoes from the plants on our deck. Green tea. Kombucha. Gala apples. Freshly pressed green juice. Bread from the local bakery. Guacamole hummus. Spinach tortellini. Seared salmon. Fresh local eggs. Almond butter. It is all a delight to eat and enjoy. No one loves to go to the supermarket more than I do.
* This earth we inhabit provides us with bounty beyond my imagination and comprehension. But certainly not beyond my profound gratitude.
* Last night, I watched two episodes of Anthony Bourdain's new show on CNN, Parts Unknown. In one of them, he was in Peru with Eric Ripert. Aside from the fact that the two of them are easy on the eyes, I was spellbound by their adventure. Across land and sea, up mountains in search of rare white cacao beans, they trekked, they ate, they laughed, and they too marveled at the bountiful earth.
* When I was a child, I would lay (or is it lie?) in my bed at night and think about being a mother. I wanted to have children more than anything else in the world. I remember asking my mother if she thought "the rapture" would happen before I was old enough to get married and have children. (For those of you who don't know what "the rapture" is - some Christians believe that Jesus is going to return and take his children from the earth in a massive "disappearing act." Poof and we're gone.)
* The plane crash in San Francisco on Saturday, another plane crash in Alaska yesterday, the volcano eruption in Mexico, the train derailment and explosion in Canada, fires out west, flooding here in the east, unrest in Egypt, war in Afghanistan and elsewhere, recent tornadoes, malaria, kanswer, mental illness, oxygen tanks, arthritis, brain tumors, blindness, poverty, the financial crisis in Spain, joblessness, divorce, - there are reminders of pain, death, sorrow, and loss all around us and also within us. Kyrie eleison - Lord, please have mercy upon us.
* In the face of all of that, I cling to faith, to grace, to love, to hope and a future.
In the face of all of that, I still believe that ours is a wonder-filled world.
For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies -
Lord of All, to Thee I raise,
this my hymn of grateful praise.