Giving Thanks

thanksgiving weekend is such a beautiful feast.  a feast in commemoration of a feast.  that's a pretty solidly feast-oriented holy day. a true feast-ival.  and so important for us to remember the people who made that first feast possible - the Wampanoag tribe (i just looked it up, for the record) - and also to remember how their generosity was repaid.

it's funny, lots of times when conversations get going about how white colonists horrifically mistreated the native americans, they run aground when someone says: "well, what are we going to do about it now; we can't give them back manhatten!"

first of all, why not? we're currently giving away manhatten (and san francisco and and and) like always:  kicking out families that have been there for generations, and ripping the heart out of neighborhoods just to import bunches of kids exactly like me (i swear i'll get to something more uplifting - like cancer -in a second) who are drawn to a city culture we cannot help but dilute...why not give all that heartache a nice moral purpose instead?  no?

okay, well then on the off-chance that my modest proposal doesn't go viral, we can at least be aware, and we can at least pray that the ways we walk on this earth, the things that we bend our energies towards, the actions fueled by this festival food, are in service to the descendants of the first peoples of the land we are on.  that's a prayer; that's Something.

and that Something is just an offering.  just a note on this moment. which is still, at its heart, a moment of thanks.  and that's beautiful.  we give thanks! and oh the things we have to be thankful for...

first of all there's this guy:

...coming soon to a store near you, Solas' memoir, entitled I Can Put That In My Mouth.

second of all, there's his mama cuddling with him in the mornings:

third of all, there's the terrible scare we had last night and the fact that it's passed.

it was around bedtime, 8:30pm or so, and rebecca had a moment of intense dizziness.  her equilibrium has been off a little bit for a long while at this point, but this was a bout that left her crawling on the ground for fear of falling over.  and then her eyes were seeing quadruple and the view of the room was spinning around and around in circles.  she likened it to a kaleidoscope.

as she was describing this to me, i noticed that half of her face had lost its strength: droopy eyelid, mouth hanging slack.  her speech was slurred not from tongue-numbness but from her mouth only half-working.  and one of her eye pupils was dilated just like in the scary old days of last spring.

she's had bouts of symptoms before that lasted 10 minutes or a half hour and then went away, but i started to get nervous it was a stroke or maybe something permanent when it had gone on about 40 minutes.

i was texting some friends to see if they wanted to meet us in the ER and heard rebecca say, in totally clear speech, "it's fine, it's passed." i looked, and her whole mouth was talking to me and both eyelids were working.  another 10 minutes later and her pupils were almost back to normal.  and then her equilibrium came back.

something to be grateful for at the end of the day.  and it's amazing, the measurements of these growths are in millimeters.  how grateful we with functioning nervous systems all can be with a moment of reflection on these delicate, finely-tuned systems that keep us together...

but Further Gratitude goes to our radiology doctor who we saw today that was very clear that this symptom was almost certainly caused by her tumors, and that the appropriate treatment for it is exactly what we're doing.   and we heard the doctor saying, "the goal of this is to shrink and totally eliminate those new sites (the doctors call new tumors "sites" or "lesions" because of some reason that i don't know) in your head."  and we and you and everyone we know all know we're headed towards a rebecca whose body is clear of all tumors.  but it was a healing balm to hear a doctor speak in that language after all the severity of the last week.

and Further Further Gratitude goes to the fact that some of rebecca's symptoms are already starting to fade in response to the radiation.  which is quicker than the doctors are used to seeing it.  but is becoming customary for us, armed with your mustard seed of faith in this walk.  her face hardly feels numb anymore, she hasn't had any numb-tongue episodes since the first session, and her ear isn't ringing or echoing.  gifts, real gifts! from you!

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one thing that's live for rebecca is the narrowness of the path we're walking.  this radiation treatment can be harsh on the cells that aren't causing problems sometimes.  it's a scary thing to move forward into, and it's such a long way from our planned home-birth in an off-the-grid yurt last spring.

and as she's surrendered into this treatment, this moment of the journey, she's asked if people can please light candles when they pray for her, and to carry the prayer that these treatments have the best possible outcome.  and if you send a picture of the candle burning, i'll add them to the slide show of all the pictures we've received of such candles every day, and it does her heart good.

you can send pics to monk@templeofthewaters.org

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i can't tell if this is appropriate or not, you tell me.  it's a song i wrote (and performed with erica liebert, my better half for years in the musical project "stone crowe") about the themes that today evokes.

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i post this next item with full confidence that it is Definitely inappropriate.  but you need to see it, i think.  a picture of rebecca in full joy during our thanksgiving gathering with just a handful of folks.  our friend (and chaplain) chuck had us over and outfitted us with onesies.  and rebecca i think has never been happier...

...i'm the one on the right.  the care bear.

obviously she's gonna be the pink unicorn.

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we give thanks
we give thanks for Life
we give thanks for laughter
we give thanks for life-ever-after

we give thanks for solas' bright eyes
we give thanks for his crawl
we give thanks for his ongoing health

we give thanks for the message that rebecca will be healed
we give thanks for the restoration of her eyesight
we give thanks for the best possible outcome for all of rebecca's therapies
we give thanks for the grace you enfold rebecca's support team with
we give thanks for the unfolding miracle of rebecca's healing
we give thanks that rebecca's body will be clear of all tumors
we give thanks that what is impossible for us, is possible with God

we pray to be thank full

we give thanks for the guideposts You sent to us
showing us the way to walk towards You
we give thanks to witness Your fingerprints
on stream, mountain and firmament

we call out
for healing
in the name of jesus
with the love of his mother mary
with the wisdom of his comrade mary
under the mantle of brigid

with gratitude
we surrender
in faith
Thy will be done