Lying in a hospital bed, struggling to connect one breath to the next brought me to a stark realization. I was not much more than energy. I saw myself as a dimming candle, a tiny flame being nearly blown out by a raging monster of infection.
My heart rhythms were tacky, tight and painful. The nurses with kind faces would bring in soup that I would greedily drink, only to have my diseased body reject the nutrition in minutes. I was starving to death and there was nothing I could do to fan the flame or build up my light.
Finally by some combination of medicine and miracle it stoped. The angry bacteria subsided enough for my valiant white blood cells to begin to normalize. I was left a bag of bones with sagging weak limbs stripped of any muscle. In a healthy state I have the metabolism of a shrew and run on the lean side. I didn’t start the battle with much fat or muscle storage. It took very little time for my reserves to be completely stripped away.
As I began to sense the healing I realized that what I do matters little and what I am is everything. I haven’t achieved career success and currently my child’s father has a
Court action to take her from me, citing my failed attempts to find employment as “financially irresponsible.” While his perception is painful and his power in court is frightening, I am not defined by what I can or cannot do to earn money.
I am going to clean someone else’s house to earn money to support my child and myself. I am going to scrub their toilets, take out their trash, and be on call for whatever they need. I can do this and still be kind, compassionate, joyful, loyal, funny, poetic, strong, giving, inspiring and loving. I can connect to others in the community and every day be present and open to making a difference and growing peace where I am planted.
This defines me, what I am, not what I do.
P.S. If any pillow fluffing is required, I know who to call!