gratitude-a-thon day 2073: living in a state of hope

A friend told me today that her brother, an old high school friend, who’d had a bone marrow transplant months ago in Boston and was recovering here, was finally going back home to Maine (to a big, fat neighborhood celebration, mind you)! She said he was excited and doing well, but of course, one always worries.

When cancer comes to visit, it’s usually pulling a sky high luggage cart of worry. Will the other shoe drop? I responded from my gut. The gut that lived the shoe dropping life when my mom had cancer. We lived from scan to scan. Just in my mid-20’s with all my big life in front of me, I worried incessantly about the battle my mom was waging for hers.

But as I told my friend, I watched my mom do an amazing thing at the time. She learned to live in a state of hope. She kicked carefree and shallow concerns out of bed. Those disappeared in about a half a minute’s time. But what she came to have was actually better. Because when you live in a state of hope, the days are more colorful, the people around you are more important, the food you eat tastes bigger and brighter, the laughs you laugh are longer and deeper and goddamn life affirming. The truth is, it’s where we should all be living, but generally we’re too busy, too spoiled and take too much for granted to remember to pitch our tent there.

I had a good think about this today. I am quite sure that living in a state of “i have to,” or I want that,” or “this sucks,” or “why, why, why” (wah, wah, wah) is never a very worthwhile neighborhood. But living in a state of hope means living for what can be, all the sparkling possibility, residing smack in the moment we are given, while knowing that life can jump any curb it wants to at any time it wants to, but still believing. Isn’t it funny, as in bizarre, ridiculous and stupid that visiting the edge of life can often put you at the center of it? Just another reminder to live where it matters, to stand in the day, to be grateful for all you think can be.

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