Tuesday, November 08, 2005

feather light



As a kid I had my share of bruises. It wasn't that I was particularly clumsy but I had a habit of looking down at the ground when I walked, increasing the possibility of crashing into something. I'm not quite sure how this habit developed but it only got worse when I found a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk.

I found all kinds of things - jewelry, a wallet, and lots of lots of feathers. I'm not quite sure if birds drop that many feathers, or whether they just find their way to me. At some point I decided the feathers were a sign, of what I was never sure, but a sign nonetheless.

After a particularly horrible day at work there was a feather on the ground. Bending over to pick it up I smiled, taking this particular feather to mean, "Take a deep breath, nothing is that serious." A white feather awaited me as I stepped out of the car to keep a doctors appointment where I was given the results of a test. The news was not good but I sat in the car with the feather in hand, cried for about 5 minutes and said to myself, "Now, what? What are you going to do with this information?"

Whether you choose to believe it or not the most freeing thing that can happen to you is when someone says, "You have a chronic illness that will probably eventually kill you." Whew. That's a sentence alright. We all know we're going to die, we just don't know when. It's a nebulous thought rattling around somewhere in the back of our mind, but when the thought presents itself in earnest and crystalizes....what comes from the depth of your being is, "If I'm really going to die, then I'm really going to live."

Alot of my life was spent in fear - fear of getting sick, fear of flying, fear of losing a job, just one big bundle of fear. That one sentence blew everything apart and for the first time in my life I began to live - really live, with joy and excitement about what the next day would bring.

Eight years into the journey with the wolf, Lupus, and pushing through the physical problems is a challenge, but it's one of the best things that every happened to me.

The feather I found that morning is taped in my journal. Look down, find a feather, there's a message for you there.

10 comments:

Rachel said...

Thought provoking blog!

Sean McC said...

That is a very touching tale. I do wish you more joy than your pain.

karl said...

it's nice to think that bad news of such terrible proportions can release a person of life long bonds of fear. bittersweet i'm sorry and happy for you.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I absolutely love this post! It's remarkable but Feathers have always meant something special to me, too. With me, I think I connected it to HOPE, like in the Emily Dickenson line...'hope is a thing with feathers'...
I kept finding feathers and when I did, I would pick them up and save them...I don't do it so much anymore, but they still do mean HOPE, tom me, and probably always will.

Good for you that you 'seized the day' when faced with this devastating illness! Bravo!

abe/happy said...

I love this saying:
"Tomorrow is promised to No-one"

and how true it is, so make the most of today.

srp said...

The picture is fascinating. The thoughts that go with it make me pause and count my blessings. One of my blessings is meeting someone like you. Thank you.

sugarcreekfarm said...

Beautiful picture, beautiful post!

Floridacracker said...

Thank you for sharing your challenge and your strength. Whenever one of my students asks me, "Hey, Mr.P., How much longer do we have" (meaning how much time in class), I always answer, "No one really knows...so don't waste a second."

KatKit13 said...

Yeah, that universal click in life - when you just "know". It is a hard thing to take. But there are joys and blessings and gifts in our diseases (MS for me) and there is permission to finally be who we truly are, with no apologies.

sending you healing prayers.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I was scanning through your many wonderful posts when I ran into this one about the feather and life. Beautifully written -- and tells one that a part of nature can be an awakening. -- barbara