April 2018

Monday, October 4, 2010

P.S. 5 Perspective

My chiropractor, Richard Bartlett, told me this excellent story about keeping loss in perspective. A few years ago, the Seattle Sonics (there was a men's NBA basketball team in Seattle then), played in the NBA finals. This year seemed to Dr. Bartlett the year this team should win. Sam Perkins, after all, was on the team along with other greats. Dr. Bartlett had season tickets with his son. This win would be a testosterone fest. (He didn't tell me that part. I inferred.)

The Sonics, however, lost. Dr. Bartlett was devastated. He couldn't eat. He couldn't sleep. For three weeks he couldn't shake the loss. Then, one day, he was riding the bus home from the office, tired from his full day of work healing people, and he looked out the window to see a large black man escorting a beautiful young woman into a limousine. That life looked good to Dr. Bartlett. That man looked happy. That man looked familiar. That man was Sam Perkins.

Sam Perkins the player was plenty happy. Dr. Bartlett the fan, who had no control over winning and losing, was grieving. This scenario, Dr. Barlett wisely noted, was ridiculous. This loss was not his to control, not his to grieve.

Deep. But if the Storm loses next year, don't even try this logic on me.

Having experienced losses beyond my control, I know that control is not the central issue in appropriate grieving (unless maybe we're talking sports, which we often are.) I have grieved my loss of balance, of clear vision, of a mouth that works the same on both sides. These losses were not under my control, but for sure they are mine.

A few years ago, my friend Jenny, a doctor who has herself been through struggle and loss from diabetes, told me that one day I might be thankful for my tumors. To be honest, I'm not there yet, and I don't know if I'll ever be. I am aware, however, that with loss I have gained a new perspective on what is important to me, and I align my days with what's important. I know that because of this new perspective my life has changed, in many ways for the better. Every minute now is different than it might have been.

I remember years ago a new minister promised the congregation, "Every time I look at you, I will look at you as a child of God." This is how I see more now, not because I try but because I do. I am every moment amazed by the people in my world, by the phenomenal beauty of fall leaves and sun breaks, by the gift of being here.

Glad to be here, and I'm so thankful you are, too. Mary

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