Monday, February 1, 2016

Finding the Light

Today a friend of mine is having surgery.  She has cervical cancer.  It was treated, it went away and at the end of last year it came back. Today she will undergo a rather radical procedure - quite a lot of her insides will be removed.
            It is difficult for her and for her family. She has a husband and two beautiful children - a boy proud of his missing front teeth, and a girl with an urchin grin and the largest curls a small child can reasonably carry on her head.
            It is difficult, and she finds consolation in what she phrases as "finding the light" - the light of a dinner with friends, a helicopter trip over Niagara, a son in second grade and a daughter old enough to imitate grownups and be useful - even if that useful is scrubbing down the bathroom when she can't reach the taps on the sink. The water in the toilet solves that problem, and the hysterical laughter that goes along with a hasty shower for a kid and a Clorox scrub for all bathroom surfaces under 4 feet high is about as much light as a human body can stand.

Today she reckons she can use all the light she can get.
            I find my lights in the endlessly variable dimensions of human imagination. Like your daughter, my friend, we dream, and when we have dreamed - then, we simply can't help ourselves. We make it. We tinker and fix and because we did this one thing, we make the dreams bigger and bigger until - to take an example that is not mine - "we find ourselves playing complicated instruments while marching in complicated patterns in lockstep with half a hundred other humans, all of us wearing funny hats" and the result of what is, considered soberly, a rather odd collaboration, sets a million watchers on fire, screaming for joy.
            Sometimes those million people, building and tinkering, iteration by iteration, adjusting and learning and loving, find themselves coming together in a different sort of dance - their million labors condensed into a dozen people with dozen complicated tools each, dressed in masks and silly gowns, moving in unison beneath a circle of bright surgical lights and making life.
            And it is exhilarating. For this to happen, someone dreamed.

You got this, my friend.  You're gonna come out flying.