Friday, November 02, 2007

Pick a number, any number

I've seen this around on several blogs and it started my brain running on overdrive. What memories to pick from my life 10, 20 and 30 years ago. Let's see what I can come up with.

10 years ago: 1997. 35th birthday. The year I had two lumpectomies to rule out breast cancer. My mom had breast cancer when she was 33 and again at 51.(she turns 69 next week) One of my maternal first cousins, who's in her early 40's, recently had breast cancer too so lumps must be checked. With the second surgery I hemorrhaged at home and had to have emergency surgery to stop the bleeding plus several units of blood afterwards. On the way to the hospital I swelled up with blood so much that I often joke I got to be Dolly Parton on one side for onle day. I don't recommend it. (You could poke someone's eye out) The good part of it all was this experience started doctors checking into the bleeding issues in our family and ultimately ended with the diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Type III, a connective tissue disorder, a few years ago. Generations of weird medical issues were finally answered because of that lumpectomy gone wrong.

20 years ago: 1987. I was 25. Very pregnant with youngest son while oldest son is one year old and only daughter is three. Not yet sober. Less than a year from sobriety and faith. One of the rockiest years. Nearly left dearest one. That episode brought him to his knees and back to God. We still get teary when we talk of how close we came to splits ville that day. How it would have boiled down to pride for us to have gone our separate ways back then. How grateful we are that we didn't. We've had lots of rocky times since but thanks be to God, we celebrated 25 years of marriage this past winter. My going to treatment has probably been the greatest threat to our marriage yet. As we both work through our issues and the layers get peeled back, we are beginning to see how beautiful true intimacy could be.

30 years ago: 1977. 15 years old. The year dearest one and I stopped being pen pals. I was heartbroken. He was raised in a conservative Mennonite home where church membership meant no dating, no girlfriends. Never having heard the term Mennonite before, I had no idea what it meant. Isn't that like, uh, me being Norwegian? Not. His immanent baptism meant he had to stop writing me. The night before his baptism he got drunk instead and opted out of the plan. With a few years we would reconnect and by the time I was 19 we were married.

And in the vein of dreaming dreams I'll add:

2017: I'll be 55. Best word I could hear in that year would be "Hi Nana" That would be what I'd hear when they knock on the door of my writing cabin. A place of sanctuary for young and old alike. Not that 55 will be old, but I will be fully grey by then. Heck, I'll probably be fully grey long before that.

2027: Retirement age. Knowing and living what is really important. Fewer words. More meaning. Deeper loving. Strong hope.

2037: 75. What a gift to reach that age. Family. Relationships. Faith. Passing the torch to the next generation. Love. At the end of it all, love is what matters. "God is love. And he who abides in love abides in God and God in him." What better legacy could one leave?


daisymarie said...

This was so cool!
I especially loved the way you looked out into the future!!!
Now that's Hope in action.

Anonymous said...

"My going to treatment has probably been the greatest threat to our marriage yet."

I can imagine. Over the years people work out relationships so that they chug along despite the snags even if the relationships must become distorted in order to accomodate. Everybody is affected and may even feel threatened when one starts to dig around and tinker with the existing system. I guess that's why it's so easy to buy into the "don't rock the boat" idea of which I've accumulated so many shares. But that idea is an insidious one.

Interesting exercise that looking back by decades. At those different past junctions, I'm sure that it was impossible to imagine where they might lead. Though noone would wish those hardships on themselves or anyone else, they seem to have been integral to the path that led to the Hope of today; the Hope who so often brings hope to others.

Anonymous said...

These are such beautiful words when they are linked together the way you have done. Reading this reflection on the past has been an encouragement to me today. It's a part of my story in words, articulated in a way that I might not have come to on my own.
Thanks for this.
Ever yours, d.o.

Anonymous said...

PS: I love the look at the future too! d.o.

Jennifer said...

I'd like to be living your version of 2027 right now. What a lovely vision to aspire to.