A Gentle and Constant Reader wrote a comment responding to my last post, saying “It appears that you are approaching each day as a miracle.” To which I say Amen. No, not really, because I’m a heathen and never say amen, but “to which I say whoa! hey! too true!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Because I do see each day as a miracle – even each hour is miraculous when I’m paying attention. Shel and I are here together in a green and growing land. True, the sky is gray almost every day, which is not the funnest. But the green and the gray go together; you can’t have growth without rain, although tears often work in much the same way.
When you sign up to love somebody for life, you usually don’t know what you’re going to get, and you’re hoping valiantly for the best. Shel and I knew when we married that he had cancer, and that was almost 15 years ago. We too were hoping for the best, and if you’ve read the whole story of French Letters, you know that we really have had more than our fair share of the very best, mixed in with the grayer moments.
We opened the books of love and cancer at the same moment, and every page we’ve turned since then has had the same malignant footnote. Sometimes it blows up into a screaming headline, sometimes it’s written in invisible ink. But it’s all always there, a bittersweet twist to a tale that’s miraculously long in the telling.
Another dear French Letters reader is the person who discovered the extent of our latest troubles, just because he’d read about Shel’s illness here, and offered to help. That’s a miracle in itself, because if there had been no French Letters we never would have known him, he never would have looked at Shel’s CT scans, we’d still be in France now, not knowing that there were new things to worry about. The way people come together and change the course of each other’s lives is a miracle.
All this, plus the title of the post, may have you thinking “foxhole conversion.” Mais non, pas du tout. Not a bit. I think that we’re writing our own book with each breath, turning the pages sometimes with trepidation, sometimes with elation, letting the pen race ahead of our thoughts, and as with any great book, hoping never to come to the end.
The book of love is the one you read at bedtime, staying up far too late because you can’t bear to put it down. And then, even after you do set it aside, you continue all night, dreaming a happy ending.