My friend Jeremy shared a haiku with me the other day and it’s been rattling around in my head…
The news came today,
things look so different on
this side of knowing.
It’s actually coming up on three months since the news came to me that I have cancer. And holy shite, things do indeed look so different on this side of knowing. It’s not that life has come to a grinding halt – it’s that life has powerfully moved forward and taken on a different glow entirely and every relationship, moment, meal, nap, kiss, song, cup of coffee… exists in light of something I can’t (and dare not) unknow.
And the strange thing is that it isn’t all bad. I wouldn’t wish this diagnosis on anyone, but I wish everyone could feel this way. I wish everyone knew what it’s like to have the world rise up to catch you. It’s all so awful and awe-filled at the same time. Devastated and blessed, cursed and lucky, betrayed and beloved – that’s all me, and I’m utterly grief-stricken and grateful. Things look so different on this side of knowing.
AND TOMORROW, this wild-eyed, talented group of people are putting on a production of Pump Boys and Dinettes to raise funds for Farm Church so that my salary (with health care and death and disability benefits) is secure. I can hardly believe it. To get tickets or just to make a donation, go to PumpBoysForBen. I just learned yesterday that there’s are still some seats both nights, so there’s room for you! Hope to see you there. : )
On this side of knowing there’s stage 4 cancer, a CT scan this Friday morning, and giant question marks looming on the horizon. And there’s also some holy wondering, joy that comes from deep meaning, and a daily, uncontainable avalanche of gratitude that I can barely begin to express. It’s all so real I can hardly stand it. Thank you, dear friends, for catching me these precious and precarious days. I love you for it.
I have stage IV lung cancer and I write about that here. If you're out there and you're fighting cancer, solidarity. If you read "lung cancer" and you wonder if I was a smoker, read this.