Lately I've been feeling down and out. There have been a number of setbacks that Mo and I have been facing. I'm beginning to feel like we will never get out from under this rock...the small gains we make, get swept away a moment later. As well, I've been watching what was my home in the Northeast corner of America become devastated by natural disasters. As I type, my hometown of Muncy, Pennsylvania, is under water. So many of my friends and family have suffered great loss.
But the thing that is weighing heaviest on me right now is that my dad has cancer. It has come as a shock to the family, as these things do. Especially given the nature of the cancer...In April, he was diagnosed with tongue cancer. He had surgery to remove part of his tongue and some of the lymph nodes on the right side of his neck. The pathology test on the lymph nodes showed that there was cancer there as well. He was warned that this is a very aggressive cancer...that it is likely to return and spread. And it has...to his neck, chest, lungs...all in the span of a few months...
It's not fair. He just retired and was looking forward to spending time working on the house, visiting his grandchildren and enjoying life...No one deserves cancer. It is a horrible, horrible disease. I worked for three years on an oncology unit in a hospital in Brooklyn providing art sessions to patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation as well as working bedside with patients admitted either for surgery or palliative care. I have seen the realities of what my dad is facing. It turns my stomach to think of him going through this...and for me to be so far away...
Despite these things, I wake up every morning with Hope. I think, "Today will be the day I get that job offer." "Today will be the day people will realize just how real climate change is and do something about it." "Today will be the day Dad's cancer disappears." "Today is another new beginning."
I think a lot about the "audacity of hope" (to borrow from the title of Barack Obama's memoir). It is an apt description of the human spirit. In the face of so much adversity, much of it seemingly insurmountable, how dare we wake up feeling like positive changes, dare I say, good fortune, is right around the corner?
"We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope."
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
I would like to request prayers for my dad as well as for my extended family who are recovering from the devastating flood. And if you feel so inclined, please donate to a cancer organization of your choice and help put an end to this awful disease...
The American Cancer Society
The Creative Center