April 2018

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Open Windows

Suzanne, my instructor for a one-to-one session for my new Mac, shared an analogy for the way that she has needed to change since her life took a significant turn: "At first, I was like a fly banging against a closed window as I tried to get back to my old life. Finally, I thought, 'There must an open window somewhere,' and I went to find an open window into my new life."
Much of my life since brain tumors is about re-envisioning my life as it unfolds, about finding open windows. My new life is about learning that I am not in control and seeking the grace and faith to live a life meaningful to me and others by finding ways to live in the joy that is life's miracle. My challenge is to see the amazing beauty, the amazing grace, in the fragility of it all.
I seek not only to find my new room, but also to find myself. When so much about me has changed, I wonder, who am I? Am I the same person as I was before brain tumors? As I wonder, I find my voice of a storyteller, a voice I met as a child but abandoned in my busy-ness, and now I find a new voice, my poet voice:
Who am I?
The nine-months-and-five-days child of a nurse and a doctor,
I am from Grady hospital’s White wing,
I am from a house on a hill,
from copperheads on a suburban acre.

I am from the magic word and the golden rule,
from “Pack your days, like your suitcases, full”,
from “Have you done your homework yet?" and
from Mahalia at Christmas: “O Holy Night.”

And I am a child of the seventies,
of Watergate and add-a-beads.

I am a woman in love
with a woman.

I am an immigrant in the land
of drizzle and double tall lattes.

I am a survivor:
two brain tumors, three surgeries, six weeks of radiation, one car crash.

I am the woman down the street
who walks with a cane.

My student Rosa said
that I am like a white rose.
I stand for peace and justice
and stuff like that.
And I am, well, White.

I am a partner and a daughter,
a sister and a cousin,
a niece and an auntie,
a teacher and an adventurer,
a stumbler,
a friend.

In my dreams, I transform.

I am a Black man,
Running through the weary world’s white arches.
My feet softly touch the ground,
Dreadlocks tap my back in rhythm with my run.

Awake, I ache to feel the soft earth beneath my running feet,
To feel my dreadlocks tap my back.

I ache to run beyond the boundaries
Of who I am and where I’m from.
I think about whether these tumors have changed who I am. They have certainly changed my life. I am taking a different journey than I had planned to take.
In my core, however, I continue to love what I have so loved. This magnificent world is a place of pain, but it is also a place of grace. My spirit is strong—and must be strong—to notice the world’s beauty. My faith cradles me. My primary response to the world is one of gratitude.

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