Last night, after watering all my hostas, I stood under the quarter moon in the dark of night. I stood still and thought how hard it can be to direct one’s thoughts to giving thanks when the mind is a storm of worry. But I would try. Indeed, there is much to be thankful for, despite the strange localized jabbing pains in my head that have sent my thoughts careening in a direction I wish they hadn’t taken: Could those pains be a sign of brain cancer?
I’ve been in remission from breast cancer for four and a half years, but five is the magic number for my type of cancer. (It had been an aggressive form.) Cancer can metastasize, so the doctor had said to beware of bone pain and headaches that don’t go away with Advil. These hadn’t. Thus the fear of cancer has resurfaced more quickly than I thought possible. But I stood in the stillness of the night and tried my best to give thanks, like my mother would want me to.
Thank you, Lord, for the fireflies that float like blinking lanterns in the darkness.
Thank you for the smell of the muggy summer night.
Thank you, Lord, for the sound of the distant train whistle that tugs at my heart.
… for my life that You’ve extended to this day.
… for the music that I heard my husband playing on the piano.
… for the haunting scream of the fox from the distant woods.
… for my children, whom You have blessed.
… for my sight with which I can see the beauty You created.
… for my sense of smell with which I can smell Your flowers and the morning coffee.
The longer I stood, the more blessings I recalled.
… for the cicadas that buzz in the daytime.
… for the sunsets I have seen.
… for the smell of a baby—my babies when they were young.
… for the softness of my cat’s fur.
I trust in you, O Lord; I say ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.
– Psalm 31:14-15
Tomorrow I go for a brain MRI. The results will determine whether I continue to live my life at a saunter, or I have an abrupt and distressing shift.