Saturday, August 16, 2008

Out of character

Last night, a friend of mine went outside for a cigarette break, and oddly, I felt the desire to join her, though I haven't smoked in 20 years. (A youthful phase, begun by smoking in the play Stage Door ...)

What would your friends think? I ask myself. Well, I guess old friends would act strange, they'd shake their heads and say I've changed.

Well, something's lost, but something's gained in living every day.

I feel a desire to act out of character because, paradoxically, acting like myself feels less honest. Even my best friends are separated from me by the simple fact that they do not look at one of their children several times a day and wonder if they'll be alive this time next year.

We continue on, and we all live similar lives with shared concerns. Setting up the R.E. program, where should the theatre workshop meet, who will our speakers be for the fall. We talk, we send emails, our lives are parallel is so many ways.

Right now, many of us are probably doing laundry. But I am doing my laundry, and Little Warrior's, so that I can pack our bags to go into the hospital on Tuesday for LW to get 6 days of chemotherapy. I am urging food on her now, trying to stuff her because of the inevitable weight loss about to occur.

It's woven into normal life. And I have a normal life ... except.

And it's this little "except" that colors everything, that makes me feel like I'm just pretending to be myself. And inside, I feel that I'm a completely different person. And I can act normal and talk normal and live this parallel life at the same time I'm living this "other" life, this other life that is made up of counts and blood transfusions and bald children with eyelashes falling out and somehow, somehow, I'm supposed to weave these two lives together, emailing worship speakers from the hospital and researching the best bento boxes on one screen while on another screen I research the aftereffects of neulasta and cytoxan and all the other poisons I authorize the professionals to pump into my 3 year old.

It is not anyone's fault that I live these two lives. It is all choices that I have made.

Well, except one.


ms. kitty said...

It seems to me that your real life, your real "you" is the one that includes all of these things. It's all one track, made "richer" by its demands. I know you have to keep the multiple sets of demands separate to some extent, but one must affect the others---chemo affecting your worship leadership, worship leadership affecting your life with your family.

I'm babbling, sorry, but I wanted to say "it's okay, really". Even though it's not, really. Except that it's life, really, and that's okay, even if it doesn't feel like it.

Okay, shut up, Kit, and go preach. As if I knew what I was talking about.

Anna Banana said...

Wishing you some peace today.

Anonymous said...

YOU are real...yourself. Dealing with an unbearable situation in a supremely dignified way.

If that means you smoke a cigarette to get through it, then let me be the first one to offer you a pack.

Ms. Theologian said...

Occasionally I'll have a cigarette. Something about honoring an itty bitty desire feels honest to me. Our characters are complex, anyway. :)