It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world
– Mary Oliver
November 25, 2017
I had my second surgery on November 13. Much less invasive physically, mentally and emotionally, perhaps because there’s not a whole lot left to invade. But instead of waking up to significant body parts missing, I woke to a work-in-progress further restored. And I had a place to stand instead of trying to find my way in a bottomless black hole.
“A region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing—including particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from inside it.” I’m intrigued by the definition of a black hole and am not even exactly sure what this “spacetime” definition means, but have you ever felt like you’re trapped in one – where even light cannot escape?
One of my husband’s colleagues was diagnosed with breast cancer in October and had a bilateral mastectomy the same day as my reconstructive surgery. We’ve become friends via email and text, and my heart is with her now as she has to figure where this thing ends, where the parameters are, where the black hole stops. She has to look into her expanse and find where the staircase even is, let alone drag herself up to climb ahold of the first step.
The unknowns keep us falling. Where to start, how to find the boundaries, what are we even dealing with? Once we figure out the direction of the stairs, we can map out a plan to climb, but more importantly, we have Solid Ground and something to lean in to. Observe, pay attention, inquire, explore. Start somewhere.
For all those sunny summer days I spent indoors wrapped in bandages, an alarm set every three hours for taking a slew of medications, I know it’s a “serious thing” just to be here. For all the brokenness in our worlds, it’s a serious thing just to be here. What do you think Mary Oliver means by that? We are all here, and it’s on purpose. We all matter, we all play a part, and if we hang on through the black holes, sometimes with what feels like every last bit of our might, we are promised new mercies every fresh morning, even a staircase.