Saturday, June 25, 2011

on boughs too slight

“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.”

Victor Hugo

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.  


  1. Thoughful, insightful, courageous post. Thank you.

  2. I've noticed that even in the rain the birds sing ...

  3. God is speaking to you in all sorts of dynamic and sometimes subtle ways. His Strength fills you each moment. I believe this with all my heart. Beautiful post.

    Those pictures are great captures too.

    Thanks for your prayers and friendship. It means the world to me :)

  4. Oh, Vicky!!! Isn't this true for EVERYONE ---- that life is just all about finding the song God has given us and learning to sing it, whether we are hanging on, flying, roosting, or nesting???? Two years out, and I'm still learning my song. And I'm still hanging on. And I don't like using my wings. I like the feel of the branch beneath my feet. I know one thing: The most beautiful of songs are learned in the darkest of nights. Your post was powerful today. Thank you for reminding me to sing more!

  5. i think this experience has also given you a new voice with some beautiful poetic words....xo

  6. Praying for you today! This is a beautiful post.

  7. Honestly, Vicky...I can't say I'm religious..but if I may be a hypocrit for a moment.. I do believe God is talking through you. What a beautiful message you send today...

  8. I love that you are seeing and hearing the words and songs that God sends us that to often go unnoticed. Beautiful pictures, we have a pretty little green fly catcher that is living in the tree I planted last spring...wish she would let us get close enough to catch a picture of her to post as she is not seen often around this area.
    See you tonight for supper!

  9. Keeping you in my prayers...your post reminded me once again of how brave my mom was 2 years ago when we found the brain tumor. She lived for 5 months after the tumor was removed but she lived daily knowing it was all in God's hand. She taught me more about trusting the Lord in those 5 months than the 50 I lived while she was alive! Loved your post..very inspiring.

  10. I had a bird come to my window and this always means news and your news will be a bright one since your bird is yellow.
    Life always has something good happen to encourage people.
    and this little bird was something good that happened to you.
    Take heart and believe in its message.

  11. You write so beautifully...what kind of camera do you have? xoxo always..

  12. I love this perspective, that all of our life, things are put in front of us for a reason. What we choose to see and do with those things is up to us. You have chosen to learn, to grow from this experience. It's not always easy, but that is the most beautiful path.

    Book club looks like a blast!!
    Thinking of you!


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