Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino
it has been a wonderful summer for me so far and yet it has included calls that sink the heart. all about cancer. all stage four. these were healthy people. one has more means and access to the best doctors than anyone I know. a routine colonoscopy found liver cancer. another woman i love who has not been sick one day in the twenty years i have known her, had a backache that has turned out to be bone cancer. so what’s going on here? there are things that money can’t buy. there are questions that do not have logical answers. and there is something my dad told me several years ago when at the strike of reaching forty, i felt like i knew way too many young women who were fighting for their lives.
he said, “honey, i want you to think of everyone who is well. i am not asking you to stop caring.” he was asking me to proportion the bad news against the whole of everyone i knew who was well. and against everything that was good. there are miracles occurring all the time – medical and otherwise . so today i am practicing to not allow any one event to define my despair or my joy. this proportion helps keep me in balance. prayer gives me choice rather than the illusion of control. it is the foundation of my balance and it anchors me. i can hold my friend’s hand and pray and let them know they are loved. i can refuse to turn my back and abandon them even though their condition may be uncomfortable and frightening to me. we can rejoice in a friend’s celebration and not turn our backs on them either, because we may feel momentarily threatened by their success. we can pray they have even more. in this way, there is balance, authenticity and the opportunity for authentic gratitude for every single moment that goes by. thank you dad for teaching me that. thank you life for letting me remember that now.