Thursday, June 19, 2008

sinful minister

Counseling. That's what I told my daddy I wanted to do. But that's not entirely accurate.

I suppose ministering would be a more appropriate word to use. I want to minister to people. I know that I cannot shelter them from the storm, but I can at least huddle with them through the worst of it, simply so they are not alone. I want to help ease their fears, offer them comfort, a warm dry blanket in the middle of the downpour.

Daddy says that you can't fix people, they either deal with it or they don't.

But wouldn't it help if you simply had a sounding board, someone you could talk to, someone who didn't cast blame or claim to have all the answers?

Daddy says that not everyone wants help.

That's fine, if they don't want it, they don't have to have it, but it's there if they need it.

As odd as it sounds, especially to those who know me, I have before thought of studying theology and entering the clergy for that very reason, but I have little faith in man's interpretation of God and am not at all certain my heart is pure enough to reflect God's love.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

always playing catch-up

The local American Cancer Society's Relay for Life was held a couple of weeks ago.

I went again this year, just as I have gone for the previous five years.

I gave Relay heavy coverage in the paper and shared the courageous stories of the survivors. Two years ago I received my cancer diagnosis a few days before the big event. My surgery followed a few weeks later.

It was hot and steamy all afternoon during that Relay. The enormity of it all hung sticky in the air, clinging to me, making my limbs heavy. Every motion, every emotion, every reaction was a great effort.

I was solemn that night as I walked around the track, lined with luminaries lit in honor of a survivor or in memory of someone who had "lost the fight."

I mourned for those who'd passed and I celebrated those who still lived. And I thought it odd so few of us, healthy or cancerous, could never set ourselves apart enough to realize that we are all dying from the moment we are born.

I was afraid, mostly at how much it would hurt (and cost) to take care of this cancer problem.

I thought often of the number of survivors I had interviewed over the years, including those who, soon after, lost their fight with cancer. Every one of them was me. Or at least could be. I had always thought that way, even long before my diagnosis. I'm cursed with a strong empathy that allows me to put myself in almost anyone's shoes and try on their life for a bit. I guess that's why I was always able to tell their stories.

During the time surrounding the Relay a year ago, I had recovered from the surgery, which had been quite a shock to my psyche, my marriage was drowning and I had learned that more invasive surgery was needed to fix the problem. But oh yea, that might not work either.

So anyway, I went again this year, having decided not to have any more invasive surgery (invasive meaning where they remove parts of me) until such time as is absolutely necessary. It's a quality of life thing. (I could also say the fact that I'm still smoking is a quality of life thing too, but simple fact is, I'm addicted and weak.)

A friend asked how I was doing to which I replied, "oh just fine. I feel great as long as I'm not going to doctors."

She immediately began morphing into her "mom" zone and asked when I had last been to the doctor.

"I had a sinus infection about a month ago...oh you mean the oncologist?" I blushed, sufficiently ashamed and admitted that I had no idea. "I've pretty much just been ignoring it and it's not really bothering me."

She clucked my name and gave me the stern "mom" look that made me duck my head and promise to follow up with someone.

That's the shitty thing about having cancer. No one will ever let you ignore the fact that you're going to die. Well duh! We're all going to die. And quite frankly I have no desire to butcher myself (and go broke) in order to live.

But, I suppose if most days I choose to ignore the fact I have cancer, I really should at least be responsible in my ignorance and let a professional check me out to make sure there's no need to ring the alarm bells and summon the surgeon.

10 not so fascinating random thoughts

A friend of mine tagged me to compile a "random, ten interesting things about me" list...since too many thoughts have been racing through my mind to capture them here, I decided to post that list here.

1) I can't wait to play the You Tube video of the baby my best friend just posted, but I know it's going to make me giggle and my husband is sleeping on the other side of the curtain.

2) I think it's very difficult to think of ten interesting things about myself, my views, or my state of mind. I shudder when I realize I'm only on number 2.

3) I am a forever love kind of girl. Once I love you, I will always love you, even if I never see you again or if you are complete fuckin' ass.

4) Despite 3, I also refuse to allow myself to be hurt and mistreated by those I love (not for very long anyway, don't even say it.)

5) I have discovered that as I get older, I have more pain in various joints. I think that's why I started drinking more milk.

6) I wish I liked pain enough to wax my legs. I absolutely HATE shaving my legs. I wouldn't mind, 'cept I get so stubbly so soon after. Which is why I want to wax my legs. But I'm certain that shit hurts to some degree and I see no reason whatsoever in inflicting pain upon myself in an effort to keep silky smooth legs.

7) I have really done nothing other than read for the past two days and loved every minute of it. I haven't had much time to read the past few years, my mind crammed way too full of other things. I'd forgotten how much I love to read. I checked out three novels from the library yesterday and have already finished two of them. My son was amazed. I don't know why. He does the same thing when he really wants to read a book and is enjoying it.

8) I ramble, duh! Not very interesting huh?

9) Bernie Taupin, who wrote many lyrics for Elton John, was my poetic mentor. It was his songs that inspired my poetic side. (Which I seem to have abandoned for some long years.)

10) I hate talking on the phone. (I'm sure my husband would never believe that, as much time as I spend on the phone.) Yes, I truly hate talking on the phone. Half the time if I haven't gotten something done, or have lost touch with someone it's because it involved me making a phone call.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

opportunity or obstacle?

Ever have a a hard time determining whether something placed in your path is an opportunity or an obstacle?

I'm there now.

Part of me is excited about an opportunity that has presented itself, but at the same time, another part of me is annoyed that my other plans are being thwarted.

When I left the newspaper a few months ago, it was for a number of reasons, primarily because the company that owned the paper was absolutely horrid. However there were other reasons as well, not the least of which being that I had utterly ceased to exist beyond the role of "newspaper lady." The community constantly demanded more and more of my time. More time that I should have been spending with my family.

I left the paper, taking a position as a political consultant. Recent events brought an abrupt end to that line of work and I found myself virtually unemployed, with a permanent part-time freelance project to help carry the financial burden.

My husband shocked me by announcing that perhaps it was time for me to write that book. He also reminded me that it would be a great time for me to go to school, so that I could begin working towards the career in counseling I've always wanted.

That was before he began seeing dollar signs.

The idea of my spending my time writing, for me, and going to school has been completely forgotten. Instead, I've been asked to start a new source for local news. It began innocently enough. Since I left the local paper has really been dropping the ball on some major stories, not reporting them at all, or horribly misrepresenting the facts. Members of the community have begged me to come back and tell them what's going on. I toyed with the idea of starting a blog or a website to cover local government. That's it, just local government. After my husband spent a few minutes with the calculator, it suddenly grew into a huge monster of a project, involving multiple layers of news coverage, including sports and schools which is impossible for one person to cover, and a print edition, with the help of a partner.

Problem is, I'm nor sure I see the difference between getting stuck at the newspaper and getting stuck at this new site, paper, whatever the hell you want to call it.

The project requires a level of commitment that I'm not sure I'm ready to offer again so quickly. Whatever happened to it finally being my turn?