I had dental surgery last week. It felt like a jackhammer was inside my mouth for forty-five minutes. Fortunately, the dentist shot me up with something that let me detach a bit from what was relentlessly happening in my mouth, and focus on the piped in music.
It was a beautiful, heart-tugging arrangement for piano of John Denver’s You fill Up My Senses (Annie’s Song), and it struck me suddenly that he was dead. Of course I knew he was dead, but in that moment I grieved the loss of him. And then, the vibration in my mouth jangling every bone in my jaw, I was pierced by the loss of all my beloveds. A slide show of family, friends and lovers before my eyes, all in their prime, all gone. And I understood, with all my cylinders firing, that I was going to die too.
By the time the chair was set upright and I was handed a small paper cup and told to swish, I felt so bloody grateful for my life it took my breath away. Everything felt petty except remembering with stark clarity that I was going to die, and knowing how I wanted to live the rest of my life.
I’ll tell you what I want.
I want to transform my frozen fear into action born out of outrage in the face of the death eaters, woman haters, bullies and liars who are trying to legislate control of our bodies.
I want to finish my life kinder than when I began it. I want to think before I unleash my acid tongue.
I want to be sure my friends and family know how deeply grateful I am for them, for the dark and light of my being that I can share with them, for the stories we tenderly hold of each other’s lives, for all the love given and received.
I want to talk less and listen more. I have a refrigerator magnet with a smiling woman on it that says “She wasn’t always right, but she was always articulate.” Ouch.
I want to send donations to online investigative news sources because the truth matters.
I want to have the courage to read the news, and the wisdom to know when enough is enough.
I want to bear witness to the suffering of others and be willing to let my heart break.
I want to stop wanting more than I need.
I want to get comfortable living with uncertainty, trusting that Spirit will guide me.
I want to leave my grudges by the side of the road for garbage pick-up day so that I don’t miss my life, held hostage to a mind that squirrels around with lists and complaints.
And if I fail one hundred times, I want to try again. And again.
Autumn is glorious in Santa Fe. The leaves are turning gold and the temperature is dropping. The warmth of the sun, the vibrant red of the mums, the blue jays and goldfinches. I want to follow the pull of darkness as the light retreats, letting her take me into deeper, stiller places inside myself.
Tell me. What do you want?
And once only, then still
To say: Yes.
Say it as if the word
Filled the whole moment
With its absolute saying.
Later for “if.”
Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.