I would lay awake in the darkness, watching the shadows on my walls shift with the movement of the night. Close your eyes. Go to sleep. Laying still did nothing for my racing mind. The thoughts were too much for my 5 year old heart, and so, it too would pick up speed. I’d hop out of bed and venture downstairs into the forbidden nighttime world of adults where my parents stayed up late to watch tv. “What’s wrong?” my mom would ask. When you’re 5, it’s hard to find the words, so I’d simply say, “It’s going too fast.”
Many years later, the night was when my friends and I would embark on adventures to the ends of the earth. We would drive to the beach and disappear into the magic of the sand and shore. We would sit for hours, listening to the waves, contemplating life, and searching the sky for proof that there was more.
The gravity of existence is something I have been experiencing since I was a young child. I am quite accustomed to feeling small and wondering why and how I am here… why anyone or anything is here.
As life wore away my innocence, I began to recognize the threats of existence. Car crashes. Hurricanes. Criminals. Drowning. Fires. Potential accidents were hidden behind every corner. When you’re young you believe that you are indestructible. That you are somehow safe.
I now see that safety is an illusion. The reality is that danger walks freely among the innocent, waiting to be triggered by a mental break or molded from a weak constitution. This danger blends in and hides behind political correctness and pragmatic limitations. For a while, I felt safe hiding at home from the terror I saw on the news. I believed that I had some control over my existence. I believed that the walls of my home could spare me from the broken minds and bullets that seemed to pose the greatest threat. I know now that danger can literally come from within.
I never considered that I could develop an illness. I never imagined that anything I could have could potentially threaten my life. You can’t hide from cancer within the walls of your home.
I used to look up at the sky and feel so small. I used to feel like the possibilities of life were just as vast as that sky. Cancer has kept me indoors, away from the sky, and I have forgotten that existence is much larger than what cancer attempts to control.
With fall, the sun retreats a little earlier and now my drive home from work is sometimes painted with the most beautiful swirls of pink and blue and orange.
It reminds me that I have no control over any of it… but it’s ok.
I was beginning to feel like the walls were closing in on me. Life was feeling very tight and small and constricting. I forgot about god/God/”God”.
Life is going to be what it’s going to be. The possibilities are still there, even if I forgot about them for a moment. Before long, I will be free of these unpleasant extracurricular activities. I am grateful that I will get to go back and live without these walls, under a vast, beautiful, twinkling sky of possibilities.