Stressed about the travel arrangements of my boyfriend’s potential visit this weekend, I grabbed the latest O magazine and sloshed into a bubbles-made-from-shampoo tub. Can he come? For how long? Will I have to work? Why are plane tickets so expensive and why do trains take so long?
I flipped to the middle of the magazine and read an article by a breast cancer survivor. In a strikingly honest piece she detailed the steps of her recovery: one day she wanted only to live long enough to see her daughters get married–a month later (and cancer free), she just wanted them to stop whining and walk the dog. This! I almost shouted, dipping the pages into the barely sudsy water. This is the human condition.
How often have we prayed to something, for someone? Please if my sister just comes home safely, I’ll do anything. I’ll be kind to her forever. Or for ourselves? Please, please just let me do this one thing right. I’ll work hard for the rest of my life. Maybe that isn’t even praying–maybe it’s just begging. I wouldn’t really know, since I lack religion in my life. But by God (gods?) do I have some faith. Faith in the moment we all know: the moment in which a sick mother longs simply for life, the moment in which we need only to know that everything will be okay, that brief, tiny, sparkling moment of clarity. And then it’s gone. And the dog needs to be walked and you’re cruel to your sister and you lay around for three days in a row.
I stood up, wrapped my towel around my body, and told myself that if my boyfriend does not visit this weekend, then he will visit another time. I decided to sit down and write about my worries. And yes, I feel better. Perhaps my hastily whispered “prayers” aren’t what I need at all. Maybe I can extend that tiny moment of clarity through the length of a few paragraphs. There will be something new to worry about tomorrow. And it will drive me to a headache and maybe even a bottle of wine. Who says you have to start being good at this stuff right away?