Yesterday, at mass, a phrase came into my mind. “This isn’t where I planned to be, but it is where I am, and there will be blessings here.” I thought immediately how the quotidian is infused with glory. I thought of how the simple act of going to mass and sitting in a pew is gilded. It was Father’s Day yesterday, and I thought about my Daddy. The recessional hymn, “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”, was one I sang as a child going to mass at Clark Air Base in the Philippines.
The day before we were at a birthday party. There was a tea party at four in our friend’s garden. There were teenage girls in summer dresses sipping from decorated Mason jars and eating sweets. I looked at the girls from the window – they looked like flowers with flowing locks. Did they know how beautiful they are? Did they know that this moment, this moment of being young and beautiful is something that is given freely? I wished them all well, wished them, like a fairy godmother, all the good things in life.
Later that evening, as laughter rose and fell in the dining room, I waved good-bye to my daughter. The living room I was sitting in was full of golden light. It seemed to me that the moment was suspended in time. The easy laughter, the happiness, the camaraderie, all condensed like an elixir of honey. I may not remember what we ate, but I will remember how the room was shot full of gold and how the trees outside spread their leaves over the lawns making deep shadows in the early evening.
In our dining room tonight, my arms feel as though they are on fire. The side effect of the chemo is muscle pain, and after a three-hour gap of being pain-free, they both were suddenly, intensely painful. I breathed through it and the pain went back into hiding.
I looked at the door to the butler’s pantry, and the mirrors and prisms hanging from the chandelier combined with the evening light for a glorious show. We laughed about how I might eat my dinner, since I couldn’t lift my fork to my mouth. Bud would feed me.
Yes he would. But I didn’t need him to, because the pain went away as quickly as it came. These days are like surfing. I never know what will come, I just know that it is all part of this experience.I know I will be provided for. The only way out is through.