Listen to Your Life

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

Frederick Buechner, “Now and Then”

I would love to say that I have lived my life just as Frederick Buechner said I should. I met those incomparable words back in 1984 and fully intended to make them my life’s mission. Ah, well, intentions can be holy in their own way, and if mine managed to capture a bit of Buechner’s elegance, then I can say that I have found my way more than once to the holy and hidden part of it. And because of that, I count the vast and wondrous swath of my life as grace. Even now.

I am in the midst of gathering information and making decisions about how I move forward now that the lymphoma that was in remission has returned. I am listening acutely. And with love. Next week I will see two Mayo doctors who specialize in my cancer so that we can together find the best road to take. I am in the midst of the fathomless mystery that is my life and that now demands that I search it with courage and hope and truth. With each step, my mortality grows more palpable, and my always unknown time ahead, even more precious.

I try to picture the physical presence of this new mass that is growing in my belly as I await treatment. I am reminded of other things that have resided there for a lifetime or for but a season. Until cancer, they were all life-giving, life-affirming, life celebrating things.

Magnificently intricate systems for carrying blood and nutrition, antibodies, red and white cells, and more, have been holy and hidden there. Systems for eliminating what was not needed have been homely but mostly efficient. All the complex, holy and hidden parts of myself have kept my sacred body alive and mostly well, for these 80 years.

Most preciously, the womb with which I was born awaited its time for the planting of another life. And in its time and once a month, it sloughed the tissue that was not yet needed. And in its time, that tissue stayed, and it matured to hold and nourish the growing hidden and holy children who would be my two beloved sons.

Now, this place where cancer dwells and grows becomes the place that still gives me life, but which may also take this life away. I am still learning how to hold those both at the same time, hidden and holy as they both are.

Life is grace, though, and the Spirit walks with me as its benefactor. The boredom and the pain, the excitement and the gladness. The uncertain and the true, the unknown and the known. They are all still in my company. I am still listening.

And I’m still okay with that.

18 thoughts on “Listen to Your Life

  1. You are a beautiful, graceful and wonderfully gentle soul.

    How absolutely your life is a fodder of all that is amazing — the resource of tapping into individual journeys, only that more than we would explain, revitalizes another and another with clarity and strength.

    I’ll be with you, in spirit, through your mending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omondiochuka, your words are so elegant and full of truth. Thank you for reaching out, and thank you for the presence of your spirit while I “mend.” I love that choice of words!

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  2. In my opinion, your attitude is the very definition of grace. Thanks so much for continuing to share your journey with us in such an honest way. I find so much in your writings to relate to, and am encouraged by it too. You are in my prayers and will remain there…… I hope that you can feel the prayers and support of all of us who care about you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ann! I am leaning into those prayers in these early days of this new journey, and I know that you have had the experience of the life that I’m into for a while. So I appreciate your support immensely. I had my port put in yesterday and will have my first infusion of many next Friday. Lots of education in between – you know how that goes! Instant overwhelm! And then grace moves in.

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      1. I do know…and wish you didn’t have to go through it again. But my prayers are with you, especially in those moments when it feels overwhelming. Grace will sustain you, but we’re here for you too….always!!!

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  3. Your words remind me of “AMAZING GRACE.” You are both of these too: amazing and full of grace and certainly an inspiration to many – including me! 🤍

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    1. “Amazing Grace” is the first hymn that began to help me understand just what grace is. The journey ever since to understand it has been grace itself! Thank you for your beautiful words. We inspire each other.

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    1. Thank you so much, Liz. I want to be as intentional as I can on this latest journey. I have not always had a gracious relationship with my body, but I find now that that is just how I need to care for it. I appreciate your good thoughts!

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  4. Grace. May the Lord give it to you in heaping spoonfuls as you travel this road. May your medical advisers have much grace as they guide you, knowing that you are one of God’s children.

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  5. Sometimes I think about Buechner, who I enjoy as well. He appears to be too old and frail at 95 to write, though, perhaps it’s a all just a little slower.

    Thank you for your sincerity and lovely moment with us. I pray for our sweet Lord to act through those Mayo physicians in your time of need. I pray for your complete healing from that lymphoma.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I do miss Buechner and I’m sometimes amazed to realize that he is still with us. I still have some of his books from my “era” that I still cherish and turn to now and then. Thank you for your so kind words and prayers. They help to sustain me on this journey.

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  6. My prayers are with you, and i will keep you constant in my prayers. You are not alone in these hours. God is with you, all the people who love and care for you here on this earth, and the saints in light. It is a beautiful thing to know that you are surrounded by so much love…Hold fast to that on the slippery slope of days ahead trying to make decisions. Your writing is such a blessing to others…i hope at this time it helps you also as a window to how you are feeling. You are a bright spark and a blessing to others…

    Liked by 2 people

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