Sunday, February 15, 2009

Running on the Knife-Edge of Fear

I got a phone call last week. It was the kind of phone call you really hope you never get...

"The radiologist has reviewed your mammogram, and there are some dense spots in your breasts that we would like to investigate further. Can you come in for further tests next Tuesday?"

I am 45 years old. I have two young children. I'm supposed to get married in 95 days.

I have held the fear at bay since the phone call--mostly because the day it came, I was up to my eyeballs in work and didn't have time to process. Since then, I have been away on a Valentine's Day holiday with Dear Friend, and being with him tends to send my serotonin levels into the stratosphere. He is with me, no matter what, he says...and I believe that.

But today, I am back at my other home without him...and the wait to have further tests and get the results seems like a marathon for which I have not trained. Today, I am running full-tilt on the knife-edge of fear.

As I run, however, I am mindful of Mark Twain's comment about worry:

I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

I am trying to keep this all in perspective, but it is difficult not to "borrow trouble." I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of what a diagnosis of cancer would do to the carefully constructed house of cards that is my life. Can I take care of my children if I am ill? Can I be with Dear Friend, when our relationship depends on my being able to travel? However will I manage? Should I continue to make wedding plans?

So many questions. So few answers, here on the knife-edge.

I suspect that is the way it always is. No one is really prepared for the possibility of disaster. We spend our lives pretending that nothing bad will ever happen to us or those we love--and then we all just react to bad news as best we can.

Today, I am praying for peace of mind, because I really believe that's all God has the ability to give in situations like this. Because I tend to rush headlong into an imagined future of pain and loss, I am praying for the gift of presence in this moment--in which I am loved and supported by many.

Just this morning, dear Fran wrote me this, in answer to my worries about whether I should continue with wedding plans:

Your beautiful future is really in the present and awaits you with such enormous grace and love, it needs you to participate without reserve.

I am fortunate to have such friends...such love...such faith in my life. May I have the ability to listen and to live a life that reflects so many blessings. May I have the grace to continue to "participate without reserve."