hope-y new year

first things first, our insurance approved our new drug! the tagrisso will be paid for by the lovely people at obamacare, or however that works. so, thanks for all of the support in this time of uncertainty.

found that out at the end of last week. good way to end the week.

second things second: solas has two teeth! here's proof...

 teefs

teefs

he also has sky-blue eyes. here's proof...

 from left to right: solas

from left to right: solas

beyond that, we're landing. it felt very wonderful to return home, both to the united states and to the bay area but most specifically to santa cruz. winding our way through the woods on highway 17 over the hills that dropped us at our little temple here felt like such a gift.

returning home from a situation as intense as whole brain radiation is a particular art. and returning home from a foreign country visiting a faith healer is a little bit more particular than that. and we were talking with folks at The Casa before we left brazil about the process of integrating, and a ukranian man shared this story:

A man lived in the woods with his daughter. One day, the daughter went into the woods, and didn't return for three hours. The next day the same thing happened, and the next and the next and after about a week of this the father decided to ask what was going on.

"I've decided to ask what is going on," he said.

"Well, I'll tell you," she said. And then she told him. Every day she walked into the woods, and followed the same path until it brought her to a beautiful meadow in the heart of the forest that was home to a grandmother oak tree. And she would go to that oak tree and nestle in its boughs and pray and feel connected to her Creator.

And the father said, "But don't you know that God is everywhere? You can pray in our hearth, or our yard, or the church, and the Divine will be there just the same as everywhere else."

And the girl said, "Oh, I know that Spirit is the same everywhere. But in the woods, I'm different."

and so keeping track of that insight is our main task right now. remembering that all places on this beautiful planet, and all moments in our lives, have the same potential to open us up to Communion and the healing that the Divine offers. even though it's so much easier to feel in certain places, in certain circumstances...

we got in late on the 28th, and got back into santa cruz on the 29th, and it was awfully easy to feel that connection when we finally opened our door. our dear friend lena preceded us by a couple days and prepped the space for us and received us with incense, lit candles and song. pretty amazing. we're keeping her for the month...

 (from left) lena, solas

(from left) lena, solas

lena also brought with her about one million lemons from a friend's fruiting tree.  this is what the lemons look like:

 (clockwise from top) solas, lemons, elf pants

(clockwise from top) solas, lemons, elf pants

and then the 30th was rebecca's birthday. her 38th! as she's fond of saying, she turned big. and a big thanks to all the folks who made birthday donations! there was a little movement of people online who donated $38 or variations thereof to our fundraiser as birthday hoorahs. it was super sweet and rebecca was genuinely touched.

...but anyway she said she's never looked forward to a birthday celebration as much as she looked forward to just making it to this one. what a gift. and what a year. and what a gift of a year, truly. to have a life that's this stripped away of ancillary worries is a special kind of grace. and to have a moment, a month, a season, a year of such deep-hearted community support, that's a special kind of present. old friends and new, thanks for giving rebecca such a beautiful year.

...and if it were possible to convey my thanks adequately with words written next to each other in sentences then there would be no poetry, because poetry exists to explore those gaps that our everyday language cannot express. thank you, beyond all words, for this year.

and here's to the next!  and the next and the next and the next and the day after her birthday was new year's eve. now, we normally don't make it to midnight on new years, but this has been a very special year.  so, in celebration, we didn't make it past nine.

'cause going to sleep at 8:56 is what you do when you're old...i know what (some of) you are thinking: hey, you two aren't (that) old.  you're always thinking that.  i don't know, maybe you're right.  but i do know i turned 40 in august and i know that's the oldest i've ever been. and i know that when i get in the car now, i turn on the news. and if i do hear a song i like, and i stay on that station, and i crank it up, and sing along, and Rock Out, i know that when the song fades out i'll hear a verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry calm voice say, "hey-thanks-for-listening-to-K-E-Z-Z, boring music for santa cruz's most boring people..."

the silver lining (or maybe they're just silver hairs?) is that if rebecca and i have not yet succeeded in growing old together, at least we've made it to the place where we Feel old together. and isn't that everyone's dream anyway?

now i should be clear that when i mention silver hairs, i'm talking about myself. rebecca doesn't have any. no silver hairs.  no hairs at all, actually. it all fell out when we were in brazil -- which was expected and still not a Super easy moment. interestingly, the week or so when it was falling out or thinning was far more emotional than when it was all gone.  when it was patchy it looked like a half-completed thought. but when it all came out, it was a statement.

of course, it helped that the hair exodus revealed what phrenologists would refer to as a "round head." i still think she looks super cute.  she thinks she looks like bruce willis.  you be the judge...

 on the left is our friend julie who was with us last week (not pictured: bruce willis)

on the left is our friend julie who was with us last week (not pictured: bruce willis)

anyway, as a result of all these late-nights and old-ness, i ended up getting sick. which is part of why it's taken me so long to write. but my cold is fading so here we are again with le update. solas is healthy as a champ. he's starting to balance on his own two feet, which means that walking can't be far off, which means that it's a good thing kids don't need their dad's permission to grow. or he'd stay little for a good while longer.

he also said "dada" for the first time last week.  which was very exciting because he was crawling towards me when he said it.  which made me think he was talking about me.  but then he said "dada" a bunch of times while facing a wall.  so it's possible he was referring to the avante garde movement.  especially when we consider that the next word he said was "daesh."  sophisticated little kid...

and rebecca's doing great. her equilibrium remains a little bit off, and she's incredibly tired, but i'll take it. she can drive the car on her own, she's back working out in the pool, she's eating well and her shiny soul still peeks out from her bright eyes.

we'll get another set of scans at the end of this month or in early february.  i feel so hopeful about them right now.  honestly, with where things are at, i've started just giving thanks for the healing of rebecca. giving thanks for her body being cleared of all tumors, because it's not totally clear to me that it isn't. and i think about miracle-workers and i think about faith, and i think about the part of faith that simply accepts the miracle and gives thanks. there's the widow pounding on the door and insisting the judge grant her plea, and there's the moment the favor is granted where it's appropriate to stop pounding and just give thanks. of course we don't know when to stop pounding, really...so we do both. pleading for a miracle and giving thanks for the miracle being granted and then continuing to plead for it. when maybe we've already gotten it.

i don't know. it's confusing. of course. nothing worth contemplating isn't.

okay. you're doing great. thanks for that.

******************

sweet beloved One
you, Source
you, Destination
You

thank You
for the gift of life
for the gift of death
for the gift of birth
for the gift of breath

for the return of health to a body in need
like the return of the rain to parched land

thank You for the guides you send our way
the saints, the heroes, the legends, the sun
the sons & daughters of spirit

we give thanks for rebecca's healing
we give thanks for her body being cleared of all tumors
we give thanks for her radiant health
we give thanks for the grace you suffuse her supporters with
we give thanks for baby solas' ongoing health

we pray for rebecca's healing
we pray for her body to be cleared of all tumors
we pray for her to be in vibrant health
we pray for grace to be with her support team
we pray for the health of baby solas

in the name of jesus, your son
in the name of mary, his mother
in the name of mary, your daughter
in the name of brigid of the word, of the well, of the flame

with gratitude
we surrender
in faith

Your will be done