By Way of Explanation


Dear Reader,

Being diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer is one way the universe grabs your attention. Awareness of mortality infiltrates your senses, your psyche, your relationships and even your definition of who you are. Each moment is both precious and bitter. The morning light is magical and tragic, and the days take on the misery and wonder of what it means to be human, frightened, grateful, ordinary, strong, and utterly helpless.

So far, I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve crawled out the other side, alive, but certainly not unscathed. The treatments are over, the cancer seems to have exited for now, and all I have to endure is the aftermath: Occasional bodily invasions, chemo-induced neuropathy, chemo-accelerated arthritis and osteoporosis, an aversion to marijuana, slightly barbequed body parts, questionable lymph-node functioning, and these whacked-out, ramped-up visitations from God.

Since my baptism at age 4, I’ve known God was up to something not quite captured in the scriptures, and I’ve given chase (or been pursued) many times. I’ve followed thin strands through thick vegetation, studied, prayed, fasted, stomped my feet, and held myself absolutely still. I’ve seen God’s tail as He skitters away, heard the cry of the Mother Eagle, swam in the turbulent Living Waters, endured Holy Thirst, and been yanked back from untimely deaths by what seemed to be the Hand of God. Early on, and repeatedly, I’ve opened the Christmas gift of Salvation, and worn it with loyal ambivalence—a coat of many colors shimmering with universal grace.

Today, God and I are taking things up a notch. We’re becoming bloggers. I’ve never had such a quirky, demanding co-author, but as you read the posts, I’m sure you’ll glimpse the futility of saying no to the Creator. This is one thing you can bank on: While God endures freewill, God is also the very definition of persistent. God doesn’t give up, and blithely believes we’ll eventually get it. God has more time than we do, hence my capitulation. I’m mortal. God is not.

My heart is pounding at a rate that reveals how scary it is to go public like this. I’m nourished by my first breakfast–homemade bread and a half-bottle of dark beer. I’m fortified by sun, wind, fire, snow, and the caw of a crow outside my window. What more could I ask?

Mostly, my posts will be reports of visitations, but if God doesn’t stop by, I’ll post meditations or whatever else seeps into my soul as I listen, pray, type, and edit.

An arbitrarily designated new year is about to arrive. May courage increase and wisdom deepen, generosity expand and fears contract. May each day include awe, joy, gratitude, and mystery. And here’s my advice: Welcome the stranger, the broken, the orphan, the immigrant, the haughty and the lowly—these are among God’s favorite disguises. It’s wise to be nice.



28 thoughts on “By Way of Explanation

  1. I love your advice of welcoming the stranger, the broken, the orphan etc. Honestly, I am really scared about the growing inhospitality to the other in our country. The hard-heartedness and the hate.

    and I am really glad you are on the other side even though “scathed”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Blessed be the writer who gifts one with the cry of the eagle and the feel of the morning sun, the tastes of bread and dark beer. It’s a good day! I look forward to the next turn of the page.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow, just wow Rita. Thank you for taking up the pen and making your thoughts visible to the public. Your blog took my breath away, in several ways. I look forward to reading more of your conversations and will send my own prayers to God to ask that he gives you a very long time to share those conversations.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dear Rita, I read your first posted blog with utter delight. Your relationship with cancer, God, home made bread and dark beer have brought great joy into my day here along coastal Maine and I’m looking forward to more insightful, inspired or simple ramblings from you and your impressive Cohort. May this be the beginning of a lovely new phase of relationship with all who have known you and loved you. More please? Love, Jeannie

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Such honesty and poetic writing. I am thrilled you are getting these words out in public for our reflection and edification, Rita. Thank you. Look forward to more!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. As I head to Anchorage for surgery to remove a tumor, this was a timely post for me. Benign or cancerous is not yet known, and that wakens a certain level of awareness of mortality too, as I’m sure you well know. It’s all opened up some new conversations with the universe that I haven’t had before. It’s a journey into something, although I have no idea what. Thanks for sharing with the world your thoughts and experiences. I quite appreciate it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Congratulations Rita, you’ve done it. I well know the fear there is in going public and exposing intimate parts of yourself to public scrutiny. But you are a writer and must write. It’s not optional. I understand and applaud you. Oh, and one more thing, you are a fabulous writer dear Rita.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey HK, of funpsychwrite, isn’t kind of cool we are again compatriots in another learning adventure? Cyberville is almost as daunting as graduate school, but we will prevail…until we move into the next sphere…Thanks. Keep blogging.


  8. I’ve read all your December 2016 posts and just love what you have to say Rita. I’m going to go through what I can from the past. Thank you. Even if I do not comment on everything, I think I have found a home that expresses my soul, the one I myself cannot express.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greetings, and thanks Suvendrini. Of course, you do not need to comment! I love the idea that you will meander your way through and take it a bit at a time. Some are better than others, but they all come from a place of meditation, and sometimes, wrestling with my co-author… Peace!

      Liked by 1 person

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