So today’s my birthday. And in my honor, I spent some time reading back through my 2012 blog entries. Holy shit, what a year! I wept a bit reading my 40th birthday post, My Birthday (Pyramid) Scheme; how I so naively presumed that my biggest concern in life was getting the word out about my blog. Then my heart quickened as I read Hx of Overactive Imagination and I Am Zen-bunny: my intuition was certainly preparing me for difficult news, wasn’t it? And then, The Results. This title certainly caught your attention: March 9, 2012 remains my top viewed day. Many of you followed my journey through surgery, Mother’s Day: The Dawning of a New Perspective; through chemo, Sweet Relief and Release; and beyond, The Crap of Cancer. Crappy or not, cancer defined my 40th year of life.
But now I’m 41.
This year I’m focusing my attention on other matters: Muncie Habitat will serve seven families through the building/rehabilitating of homes which they will then purchase with a zero-interest mortgage. Our model is biblical, you see: “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.” Exodus 22:25. While I’m not typically one for pulling snippets from the Old Testament to satisfy personal beliefs, I do love this idea of extending a hand-up to the poor. Jesus agrees: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20. See, I’ve learned is that poverty is as much a mindset as it is a lack of money. Personal resources are as powerful as financial resources. Informal and formal education are not mutually exclusive, but the value we place on them is. I will focus my 41st year on spreading the news about Habitat’s biblically-based, personal resource-building, home (re)building program. I do hope you’ll join me on the worksite either here in Muncie or in the community you call ‘home’.
I’m also going to enjoy the heck out of my family. The night of my 40th birthday, Tony and the girls took me to Sitara, Muncie’s very own Indian restaurant. What I now see as apropos for what the year had in store for me, I came down with the flu. During dinner. By the time I left the restaurant I was feverish and ill; destined to spend the next three days curled up on the couch. But my family came through for me, as they did most of the rest of the year. It turns out that Amelia would spend the summer laundering and retrieving water to quench my inexhaustible chemo thirst. Maya would wash dishes and entertain me with her unique brand of shtick. Lexie lay by the couch during the dog days of summer, offering a meager thump-thump of her tail every time I switched positions; loyal in sickness and in health. Tony spent restless nights on hospital chairs while nurses poked and prodded me at all hours. He loved me through the pain and the grief and the celibacy. And yet he also gave all to Ball State. How he juggled everything this past year is beyond me, but juggle he did.
And then there’s my mom, who deserves her own paragraph. Plain and simple: my mom gave up four months of her life to devote to the care and keeping of me and my family. She cooked, she cleaned, she drove (and had adventures!), she counseled, she dispensed pills, she assessed wounds, she listened, and she rallied her oldest baby to fight back against cancer and the hopelessness that dared grab hold. Amazing, huh? But that’s my mom for you. She’s one in a million.
I also plan to spend my 41st year enjoying Henry, our new pooch. You see, Henry allows me to nurture hope. If I were younger I might have considered a baby, but I just so happen to enjoy a full night’s sleep and then there’s that small detail of finding myself without working ovaries… Rescuing a seven year-old dog fulfills my caretaking needs perfectly and, based on his Velcro-like attachment to my legs, he feels well-caretaken. Let’s just try not to trip over each other on the stairs, okay buddy?
Because health is on the forefront of my mind, I also registered for my 7th mini marathon. My dear friends, Amy and Jami (no relation), each came down with the running bug this past year, so we will travel to Chicago in June to join 4,997 other women in chasing dreams and a big bag o’ goodies at the end. While my friends have the jump on me, my training began yesterday: twenty minutes of walk-runs that jostled me enough to reach for the Ibuprofen afterwards. But I’ll get there. I always do.
Lastly, I plan to dedicate my 41st year to paying it forward. Friends, you came through for me last year in a big way. Because I know not how to repay each and every one of you adequately, I vow to extend the same grace and kindness to others who find themselves in need. I promise to do you proud.