Four months have passed since my wife’s last cancer examination. I was apprehensive as we drove to the doctor’s office. My wife was cheery, as always.
After a brief examination, he pronounced her, once again, cancer free. We celebrated with a big breakfast at a nearby bagel shop. Then she dropped me off at home and, before she continued on to her work, we agreed we had much for which to be grateful, and thankful.
I looked around for someone to thank but just saw trees with leaves beginning to turn color, a bright blue sky marked with squadrons of birds heading toward their southern time shares, a gentle breeze and a rising air temperature that inspired me to open the windows and let it all in.
I thought back on some of G.K. Chesterton’s advice for living.
1. The most important, beautiful and redemptive thing in life is the sense of wonder. There is no shortage of miracles and we only have ourselves to blame if we don’t notice them and be grateful for them.
2. In order to appreciate the miraculous nature of our lives, we must adopt a humble attitude about ourselves and our place in the world.
3. Terrible, awful, unfair things will happen. These events will move us to anger and despair. We must not delude ourselves about our feelings. Nor should we pretend, rationalize or fail to see these events as anything other than what they are: terrible, awful, dreadful things. But we may consider that the miraclous nature of life, whether or not it can be explained adequately, remains, and that, no matter how terrible our situation seems, we can strive to identify and appreciate the wonderful things that find us, comfort us, restore our spirits and bring us joy.
So, though it appears one of our cherished trees is dying, I am grateful for the others that are blooming in this beautiful autumn.
I thank the sky overhead for a color that suggests infinite possibility.
I wish the birds luck on their journey.
I welcome a breeze, perhaps connected to a fearful storm in another part of the country, into my home, as an honored guest.
And, despite a persistent, spasming pain in my knee, I took the dog out for several walks. We met dogs she likes. The other dog walkers agreed with me that it was a pleasant day.
My wife is cancer free.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.