Anticipation

“We can never know about the days to come/But we think about them anyway/And wonder if I’m really with you now/Or just chasin’ after some finer day/Anticipation, anticipation is makin’ me late/Is keepin’ me waitin’/And tomorrow we might not be together/I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways/So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now/And stay right here/’cause these are the good old days/(These are the good old days…)

Carly Simon, “Anticipation”

I’m waitin’ for Monday, July 12th. We’re all waitin’ for some marker day – with dread or with excitement. The day of somethin’ special, somethin’ awful, somethin’ inevitable, somethin’ life-changin’, somethin’ great. I don’t know yet which of those mine will be. I only know that there will be a CT scan, blood work and a visit with my hematologist. It will be my six-month checkup to see if I’m still cancer-free. Those hyphenated words, “cancer-free,” make me catch my breath this time.

At three months, I had laid claim to those two words. I was confident. I was not going to spend time worrying about any bad news. What would be, would be. I was not going to be one of those cancer “survivors” who spends time even thinking about the possibility of its return. Oh, I was so cool, calm and collected. And with good reason. I was still “cancer-free,” as it turned out.

Why I am not so breezy about the future this time is a mystery. Except that I have had some “night sweats” over the past 3 weeks or so. Nothing dramatic, but still, the ones that leave you drenched with sweat are one of the signs of lymphoma. So maybe, I say to myself, these are just an “early warning” of what is transpiring in the deep, dark recesses of my beloved body. My vulnerability has ramped up again.

“We can never know about the days to come/But we think about them anyway…”

I was not going to do this. I have not wanted to live the rest of my life in fear. All the websites that showed up on Facebook for weeks, telling me that all cancer survivors are haunted for the rest of their lives by the possibility of relapse, were not going to gain any traction with me. Still, here I am. Anticipating. Asking the age-old question, “What if?” Even knowing that it is a waste of time to ask it, let alone try to answer it.

If you know the song, do you remember the way Carly Simon elongated the word: way-yay-yatin’? That’s kind of how it feels. Drawn out…moving, not just sitting there. Drawing me on. Ay-yay-yay-yay-yay-yay-tin’. Creating its own rhythm – keeping me engaged in wondering, attaching me to a dance whose steps I do not know, turning me in circles, over and over until I’m dizzy with waiting.

This is not the anticipation and waiting of wonder and delight and joy and happiness that is its own kind of trip. This is not the anticipation of my 21st birthday, when I would be an “adult” at last. Not the waiting for my children’s births. Not the anticipation of my ordination as a pastor, years ago. Not even the waiting for my 80th birthday, which I greeted eagerly so recently.

This is the anticipation of dread.


Do you remember playing jump rope in the schoolyard when you were in grade school? Gauging the timing when the rope would either hit you in the leg, or pass underneath your body, took anticipation. Add another rope, and now you were in the big leagues. Now you had to jump on one leg at a time to rise above each of the two ropes which kept picking up speed! One/two – one/two – one/two, as long as you could. Anticipation was essential to success! Living in the every nanosecond. It was always breathless! We nearly always ended up laughing and groaning when it came to its ignominious end for each of us.

Amazingly, I was good rope jumper!

Lesson: I’m good at that kind of concentration when I have to be. And that kind of agility of mind and spirit. So I shall concentrate on today’s gifts and let the future go until it becomes the present.

Lesson: “And tomorrow we might not be together/I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways/So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now/And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days/(These are the good old days, these are the good old days, these are the good old days.)”

These are good days. My writing is so much joy. I eagerly anticipate my visit to see family on the 16th after a year and a half away because of COVID. I am wildly engaged with my creativity. Today and each day – I intend to live in the now. Practicing my jump-roping agility (figuratively, of course…)! Indeed. And laughing when I most need to laugh!

Life can still be grace, as it turns out.

And I’m very okay with that!

18 thoughts on “Anticipation

  1. My husband’s oncologist warned us that there would be anxiety before each follow up scan, and I suspect he is right. We’re not at that point yet, but my husband is having some issues with recovering from his second surgery (the one to remove his ostomy bag, and much more minor than the surgery that removed part of his bowel), and of course our minds immediately go to, “Oh, no! Something is terribly wrong!” I think as hard as we try not to feel that way, we just can’t help it.
    But I like the way you end this, reminding us that each day is a gift and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone. Looking at it that way does help, I think. So does knowing that whatever happens, God will be with us every step of the way. Thanks for sharing your story! It helped me to read it this morning. And I’ll be praying your scans provide good news!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad that it was helpful! The good news is that my CT scan showed NO LYMPHOMA once again, and my hematologist said that I’ve done so well (well, my body has…) that there is the slimmest of chances that it will return! Still, I know that every checkup will have some tension ahead of it – that old “What if…?” question just loves to show up!! But equally true is that to the degree that we get obsessed with it, we can wind up wasting a lot of valuable time. And for those of us for whom cancer is a reality, we need all the good time we can muster. I’m sorry to hear that your husband still has some leftover “stuff” from the surgery, but I’ll keep you both in my prayers for better days ahead. We are family, I keep saying…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so very much for your prayers, and you’re right, we are family. And I’m SO happy that your ct scan showed no lymphoma!!! You beat that cancer and that is huge!!!! I hope that this means you’ll be a bit less anxious about future scans, since your chances of reoccurance (sp) are so small. But I know what you mean: cancer teaches us to value the here and now, and to learn to live with uncertainty. That’s never been my strong point, but I’m learning!

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  2. Praying for you! I hope that you get very good news! Life is a dance, and even when we do not want to step out on the dance floor, we must. We must keep our feet moving to the music. Sometimes, the music is melancholy and sometimes, it is nothing but joy. Still, we would never be good dancers if the music was perfectly timed at all times and we knew what to expect. All these dance steps teach us so much about life, about our inner strength, about how God leads us across the dance floor each and every day. Wishing you blessings!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your prayers, always, Linda! I did indeed get very good news! No lymphoma is present – still!! And my doctor says my chances of having it return are very small, considering how my body has healed thus far. It’s a blessing when even your doctor rejoices with you! And I’ve never been a very good dancer, but I think I’m getting better! Practice, practice!

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  3. I’m right on time to wish an easy day tomorrow at the hospital and, of course, a negative result. ❤️ If you did everything right in those past months – attitude is everything and you approached the issue with courage and optimism and that’s a very good thing – there is no need to worry. Have you thought that the night sweats were the result of heat? It’s summer in your part of the world, right?

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    1. Thanks, Jo, for the encouragement. The “sweats” are definitely of the “night sweat” variety…they do feel different, and I have had some warm nights. The Spirit is providing over and over today to keep me on an even keel. I’m am blessed! Tomorrow will be what it will be, and I will still be in the hands of Love.

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  4. Loved this one-so skillfully woven together. I could feel the rhythm in your writing. You continue to expand my vision and experience of grace. What a precious gift you share!

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    1. Thank you, Joy! My vision and experience of grace grows every time I sit down to write a blog. Staying open to its endless appearances is what keeps me grounded and fascinated with my elder years! So glad you’re along for the ride! You are grace.

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    1. I am counting on my writing in these days. The online course that I’m taking is pure gold! I’m in week 5 of 12, and my mind hasn’t been so active in years! I’ve gotten back to meditation as well, so present moment life is improving. Your encouragement, as a companion writer and teacher, means a lot!

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  5. What a beautiful and vulnerable post. And we are all the better because you wrote it.

    And, remember, come Monday….you are not “way-ay-yay-yay-yay-yay-yay-tin” alone!!!

    >

    Liked by 2 people

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