“Be like the bird that,
pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight,
feels them give way beneath her,
and yet sings,
knowing that she hath wings.”
The other day, I could hear the faintest "brushing" sound, a fluttering of sorts and looked over my shoulder to discover a flash of yellow. In the gloomy grey, pouring down rain, a baby finch appeared in my window. But he hovered, hence the noise I heard. And upon a closer look I saw that he had somehow managed to plop his little claw just over the metal rim on my window.
He precariously perched for the longest time while I carefully retrieved my camera. He seemed both barely hanging on, and yet not afraid of his tenuous position. 3 quick pics were all I managed to get off before he took flight again.
This much I know is true, God always seems to bring me something that helps me articulate how I feel. I've been trying to put into words what "cancer" has meant to my life. Oh sure, the obvious things, the chemo, the diet, the tumor protruding from my right breast that is still both crusty and grotesque, but a part of me nonetheless. All of these I've grown somewhat accustomed to and can speak about at will. In fact, saying I am making a trip to Roger Maris has come to sound like I am going to visit a favorite Uncle, instead of the name of the cancer treatment center I attend frequently. But those are the obvious ways cancer affects your life.
On a deeper level? I'm not truly sure if I know yet the how and why of cancer and what it means for my life. Three months past diagnosis and in many ways I am still just a "newbie." I've begun to spend some time on the cancer "boards." Last week I finally made a profile for myself and spoke up for the first time. The "veterans" on the board have lived years with varying diagnoses of breast cancer. They're on their 9th or 10th new drug now, they've had hair and lost it, gained weight with steroids and lost both breasts, or surrendered an arm to lymphedema. They've been cancer free for months or years, only to have it come tearing back into their lives sending them to the ends of the world in search of the next cutting edge treatment. Their insight and experience is both mesmerizing, encouraging and gut wrenching all at once.
Through all of my reading, all of my conversations, what I've come to see is how very close to that fledgling bird I really am. I think when I didn't first see that bird perched on my window, God helped me hear the fluttering and notice the bird, for a reason. No different than me getting cancer, for a reason. Most of the reasons I can come to know, but some of those reasons will take a bit of work to discover.
I've gotten a tiny finger hold or "claw" on the ledge of the window looking into cancer. And now, I am beginning to understand the key is to learn how to sing, and find my wings, no matter how slight the bough on which I perch.