Keep Swinging.

This is supposed to be Gear Friday – I even have a really killer piece of gear lined up to tell you about – but then life happens.

Life happens and gets big. People fill me and my chest expands. I entertain reminder after reminder of our frailty.

At 7:34am I have to stop reading email. There is a switch inside of me that flips when I feel the lump in my throat forming. One email links to my cousin’s journal on her CaringBridge Site, in which she asks for prayer for her two year old daughter, ‘Tana. The baby girl goes in for surgery today to have her entire lung removed in what is to be the final, last-ditch effort to rid her of the cancer that threatens to take her life.

I don’t pray.

But the moment that I read this, something inside me falls off a shelf and breaks. And then a positive energy starts forming inside me and pulsing. I want that baby girl to live. I’m going to will it into reality. I believe this energy is as strong as prayer. I believe I can make a dent.

The next email is an update on a colleague who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. At best, she is facing a double mastectomy. We’re still waiting for more information. She’s taking the news as well as can be expected.

In my blogroll I read my cousin Jenny’s blunt and honest tribute to her seventh wedding anniversary. It’s written with a steady gait and I can feel her standing there on the edge of her life, looking in. Her introspection stirs me. Her frankness is refreshing.

In the past month, my best friend in San Francisco has gone through one of the most gut-wrenching and awful divorces that I have ever stood by and witnessed. I wasn’t there with her. I haven’t been there with her. I watch her pain peripherally and wish I could take it from her. I can’t. Simultaneously she is fighting health battles that doctors are not even sure she can win. She’s going through so much shit it makes me hold my breath, close my eyes, and put my head in my hands.

In the past month, an alcoholic former friend resumed drinking. We don’t speak anymore, but the news hit me harder than I can explain. It’s not my battle to fight, but I still hate losing it. I hate the way it looks from the outside. I hate the way it feels from the inside of me.

This is life.

There are big days that sneak up and dog pile you. It’s amazing how much pain can hide inside my laptop. It’s amazing how much grief can squeeze into my heart over a cup of coffee on a Friday morning.

I gather it all up and take a breath so deep it feels like it will never end.

We’re strong and we’ll only get stronger. Pain is a reminder that all these things, all these people are meaningful. It this life was easy, it wouldn’t be so poignant – it wouldn’t shake us this way.

We keep throwing punches because we’ve been trained not to throw in the towel. We shuffle step because we know that, one way or another, we’re going to fight our way off these ropes.

Keep swinging.

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