Aloha

My church is hosting a series of faith/hope conversations to reflect on Mary Oliver’s question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” We are using “What We Wish Were True” by Tallu Schuyler Quinn to lead our conversations. If you have not yet read this collection of essays, I highly recommend it. I entered this series with some trepidation. Metastatic breast cancer gives me a different view of life than most others. You see, that news being delivered to me in the doctor’s office that summer day changed everything. It thrust me into the world of other people with a terminal illness – and we just think differently than the rest of you. There is no more battle for who is in control of my life; I didn’t have “terminal cancer” on my life bingo card. There is no battle for what takes priority in my life. I am very clear to anyone I meet that my husband and my kids come first. Always. You cannot risk putting things off until tomorrow when you may not have tomorrow.

Decisions and scheduling become easier. When I consider doing something I think of Deana Carter. If you aren’t a 90s country music fan, that means, “Did I shave my legs for this?” Put in more eloquent terms (not something I am prone to do) it means, ” Is this worth what I have to give up to do this?”

So I ask you —-Is this worth what you have to give up to do it? That isn’t something only for me and people facing similar problems. That question is crucial to deciding what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.

I do believe God allows naps and snack time in that plan, so I was binging One Chicago and Peanut M&Ms last night when sleep was elusive. A character explains that aloha means, “to consciously manifest life joyously in the present.” I had to stop and replay the scene repeatedly. How can I be so cheerful in the face of my illness and the pain and the side effects of treatment? It is really quite easy. Today I am here. This is the day the Lord made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Today you are here, too. Aloha.

Hand drawn aloha lettering. Hello in Hawaiian. Ink illustration. Modern brush calligraphy. Isolated on white background.

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