The morning has grown quiet. Rush hour, the ten or twelve cars that flee our little village each morning to work elsewhere, has passed.
It has turned warm. The snow that has covered everything for the past few weeks has begun to melt. If you sit on my back porch, you can hear it dripping from the porch roof. Earlier this morning, huge slabs of snow fell off the steeply pitched roof of my old miner’s house.
I have an empty day, with just a little work. I will fill it though. There is a lot to do. There always is.
I am tired. That is the truth. Part of my recovery has me getting up every couple of hours in the night to deal with some of the aftermath of the surgery. It will get better, they assure me, and there is already progress being made, but the result is I never get a full night’s uninterrupted sleep.
That’s not a complaint. It is just a fact. I am nothing but happy at how my cancer adventure has turned out. I get to live. I am not afraid of death. I have come too close too often to be afraid of it. But I love life. I love my life. So, no, it’s not a complaint. It’s just part of the process.
But it is a part with consequences. Sleep is important. We heal best when we sleep. My depression does much better when I get regular, good sleep. So there has been that part of the equation. Mornings are hard.
It has also made me stronger. My therapist, over a decade ago, did an incredibly good job of arming me to fight the depression. I have tools and weapons to fight the depression. Lots of them.
There is a wonderful scene in “Mad Max, Thunderdome” where Max is about to enter the city run by Tina Turner’s character. To get in, he has to check in his weapons. He does so, and it’s like a Mary Poppins bag of mayhem and weapon after weapon comes out of his coat, his pockets, up his sleeves. strapped to his ankles and thighs. In the end, there is a three-foot pile of murderous devices on the table.
That’s me and my arsenal against depression. Most days, I just have to use one or two of them to push it back. I won’t say it’s easy, but it’s become habit. I struggle for a bit in the morning, fight to get up and going, and then inertia goes my way.
Since the recovery, with the lack of sleep, I’ve had to do my Mad Max imitation. Pulling out the whole cabinet of depression killers. It’s taken more work than normal. But it mostly works.
And I have become stronger for it. I might not pick the situation, but I can’t deny how tough it has made me. And so once again, something good has come of something bad. That’s what happens when we allow it. When we look for it. When we look at it. I’ve had it happen all my life. Something awful happens. Something different, and often wonderful fills the gap.
Today, I look for it. I expect it. And it happens.
This sounds kinda new agey, or pollyannaish, but I don’t think it is. I think God (and this seems to be true in most faiths, not just my beloved Christianity) wants good for us. He puts that good in our path.
But we have to see it. We have to grasp it.
That’s hard when we hurt. It’s hard when we are afraid. In such times we turn inward, the mental and emotional equivalent of the fetal position. I know it’s hard. I’ve lived it. I’ve also lived what happens when we force ourselves past that point and begin to look outward. We see something different. Horizons. Possibilities. Many of them right in front of us all the time.
I’m tougher. I didn’t really want to be tougher, but here I am. It’s good in its way. My hope and expectation is that I won’t need that toughness except for a few more months. But now, it’s a good thing to be.
It’s quiet outside. Beyond the quarry across my road is sky. Something to rise to. Something to savor. An empty palette, waiting for paint. It’s going to be a good day.
Be well. Travel wisely,