21 November 2006

Sorting Things Out + A Quote with Thoughts

I'm still working on the template. This might take a while. One element that is not working for me is the "Currently Reading" link.

Which segues me into my next topic: a quote. I have been reading Ursula Hegi's Salt Dancers*. Here is a quote from the book in which the main character describes her feelings for her husband, early in their marriage:

Those early years with Andreas, I'd sometimes woken up at night, my love for him stretching every cell of my body with fear because so many accidents and illnesses could claim him from me. Those nights I couldn't imagine how I could possibly continue without him.

I remember feeling that way. I still feel that way even though an illness is trying to claim him. Now when I wake up at night, I have a brief moment where I am awed by the beauty that is my life. Then one word, cancer, makes its way to the forefront of my mind and while I remain grateful for the countless blessings that are mine, I also become taut and angry about what the disease is trying to take away.

Lately, as GH has not been feeling so well and as it seems that cancer is getting the upper hand, I've been dealing with a lot of fear. It ranges from small-scale fear (Will GH be able to get up in the night to help me with the twins?) to large-scale (How on earth will I even begin to function without GH?) It's overwhelming. I know I need to just focus on the now and try not to worry about what the future holds, but damn if that isn't hard.

I was really inspired by this post over at Sojournering (the church part, not the potential social gaffe part [OTRgirl, if you're reading, I don't think it was as bad as you think it was!). I'm a total mess about religion, one of those "spiritual but not religious" people when people ask, but more of a believer without a home at heart. All this fear and uncertainty in my life has often made me contemplate going to church. I hate to use the words "good outlet" and "resource" to describe a place of worship, but I think church could be both of those things for me. But which church? So many churches have social views that I find unacceptable. Maybe the Quakers? The UUs?

For a long time, Al-Anon was my religion.** When GH and I bought our condo, shortly before I became pregnant with the twins, we moved quite far away from my home meeting and I just never got back into it what with all the pregnancy and cancer stuff we had going on. It was in Al-Anon that I started to think more about religion rather than just rejecting the idea outright. I have shared at many Al-Anon meetings that I have three prayers: Please, Thank You, and the Serenity Prayer. I find that those three cover all of my bases. Frankly, those three prayers are in many ways enough religion for me right now. It's just not very social of me to have three prayers I say when I need them, and it's the social aspect that I'm starting to crave.

I don't know how to wrap this up. This is more of a think-aloud than anything, more questions than answers, and mostly unformed thoughts. Fruitful topic, though, and I imagine I'll return to it now that it's on the table.

* Aside: I tried to read Hegi's Stones from the River some years back. I could not get through it. I'm enjoying this book enough that I might give Stones another try.

** I've never blogged about my Al-Anon experience. To be honest, I'm not sure if it's a violation of the principles of Al-Anon to talk about the fact that I'm a member and share what I've said at meetings. I think it's OK as long as I don't talk about other people from meetings. In any case, someday I'll get into how I got into Al-Anon; for now, suffice it to say that my 17-years-sober father is my qualifier.


Lacey said...

I loved 'Stones from the River' and still have it tucked away in my library. But I have not been able to re-read it. I think it is because it's so tragic, and I loved the characters so much, it would be hard to read it again, knowing what happens. Which is weird, I know - it's a book! I would recommend definately giving it another try though ... if I remember correctly I had a hard time reading it in the beginning too.

Menita said...

One more to add to the "to read" list. All your fault.

I can't imagine going through what you are, and it seems you are doing it in the best possible way. I remember reading your posts from way back when you wondered if your children would meet their father and look - they did. Who knows what the future holds, but you have lived every moment to the fullest, and though there is all that fear and pain around the corner, you truly are living well.
This probably came out wrong but I know you will understand.

Jeralynn said...

You're such a rare, wonderful person. Whatever has to be done, whatever has to be endured, like always, you'll just do it. And, like always, you'll do it with great grace, courage, and class. The book I would like to read is one that you write.

bg's Little Sis said...

We share many worries Snick, I struggle with church today, we attend, some days good other days I'm just confused, but it has been a network of support I never knew would be there. On AlAnon, I think you're safe with what you've shared, no rules broken. My husband qualifies me and though it hasn't touched our lives in the same way for a decade now, the time I had in those meetings have taught me so much that I still use today almost daily.

After he and my daughter dealt with cancer I became very active with the American Cancer Society as a volunteer and advocate. After the death of my father I took some time off but am back in the saddle. They are a wonderful resource for caregivers as well as patients on a variety of fronts, the work I've done there has also been a spiritual awakening for me. I found the hardest part for me was making the call and asking the questions I had burning in me but was too afraid to find answers to.

Thanks for sharing and for your very honest and thought provoking discussion. I too would like to read the book you write.

All the Best,

Christine said...

You sound so much like me about religion. My lifelong struggle with depression has given me an unshakable belief in God. I truly believe he has brought me through many of my darkest times. However, I was born and raised Catholic, and as a woman, I just couldn't get into so many of their social views. My husband was forever turned off of Catholicism by their political views and the priest sexual abuse scandal, so after being married in the Catholic church in 2002, we never went back. Earlier this year, we checked out the Episcopalian church in our town, and we finally felt like we'd come home. There's a good reason they call it Catholic lite -- there's a lot of the same tenets and practices in church, but there's not so much political crap and well, guilt. It's good to be a member of a church for many reasons, not least of which is the social support.

Happy Thanksgiving, Snick, to you, GH, Maddie and Riley. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Your blog is one of the first I read each day -- keep writing and telling it like it is.

Yankee, Transferred said...

My father was my qualifier, too. The years between his sobriety and his death were wonderful, and too short. I think of you all the time, dear Snick, and hope that you're keeping the wolf away from the door. I wish I could help. I look forward to a coffee in real life some day. You're an amazing person.