Life moves along at a pace that seems a little faster as I age. I often retire at the end of my day barely aware of the interactions encountered during my waking hours. The next day comes, then the next and so on without anticipation of change. This isn’t reserved to human contact, but extends to touches with nature and any meaningful awareness of surroundings.
I’m not frustrated, and quite possibly unaware of the mediocracy of merely existing. Life isn’t bad, but days seem to just roll by. One afternoon I notice something that isn’t quite right about my body. It started as a sore throat, worsening unlike any other I could remember. Through self-investigation I feel a lump both under my tongue and on the right side of my neck. These are new to me and I find it troubling that I hadn’t noticed them earlier.
A doctor’s visit heightens emotion as the diagnosis finds that it is cancer. This is the moment my life utterly stands still. All the meaningless routines flood my hyper sensitive soul like bouquet of flowers scattering color, aroma, and passion throughout my entire being. Words can’t be written how one sees life when it is felt to be ending.
From the second these simple words were expressed, and through the agony of wondering if a cure can be achieved; life took on new meaning. My stops at the coffee shop were no longer minutes of frustration hoping the line would move quickly, but a room filled with friends on a journey together. I was embarrassed at how many wonderful souls crossed my path every day without notice. Now, each morning is filled with anticipation of what story may be shared or how I might help someone in need.
My drive which had been primarily on autopilot, finding myself bewildered when I got to work are now tours of adventure. People on the streets, families in cars, businesses welcoming patrons, and scenery unimaginable blossoming in my every view. Conversations that had led us to common ends now became a masterpiece of life. I feel every emotion of every word wanting to learn more while standing present with all who I encounter.
Yes- the news I received is life changing! Not from fearing that it may end but realizing there was so much more I had been missing. Certainly, I will fight with my last breath to beat this silly disease, but my days will be filled with a life I didn’t know before. My simple hope is that I can share this experience so all of us—whether healthy or not—can feel the eloquence of our life’s symphonies knowing we each play our part.