We just don’t know what’s going to happen do we?
I was with someone I love very much yesterday for about five hours as she went to see the breast surgeon about the results of her biopsy that she had last week, back to the radiologist, and then back to the breast surgeon.
It’s not easy seeing someone you love poked and squeezed and bleeding and bruised and cut open, crying, in pain and afraid.
I sat in the waiting rooms and well, waited. When she went into the surgeon, I accompanied her because as we all know four ears are better than two in all things medical.
The surgeon called me her “escort.” Images of high paid beautiful Russian call girls came to mind, as I sat there in my Adidas tennis sneakers and Polo shirt.
In each waiting room there were 8 or 10 women, and all except one, whose husband sat beside her engrossed in his iPhone in his business suit, were alone. What is it about women always doing so many of the hard things of life alone?
In my usual nervousness and wanting things to be okay, I blurted out my one-liners that made people laugh. The more the people laughed, the wittier my mind became. It would have been good if there were a mic and a spotlight I could have stepped up to. “I’m here all night,” I wanted to tell them.
A few of them sat in blue soft cotton Johnny coat wrap things (like medical Dianne Von Furstenberg dresses) waiting for the next round of whatever, their breasts without bras like soft fluffy deflated pillows that’s just the right amount to lay your head on. There’s nothing worse than a hard pillow on the neck.
Is there anything in the world more lovely than the female breast?
I sat there in those breast waiting rooms with my own healthy breasts under my clothes in a bra, rising and falling with my breathing feeling like an imposter of some sort because today wasn’t my day to wonder fearfully what’s going to happen with my health.
But I have this fearful wondering about another situation. And I wake at three and four a.m. in the dark blinking at the ceiling with my mind racing picturing unbearable scenarios, my stomach lurching and churning much like the women in this waiting room must be doing.
The thing is, none of us knows what’s going to happen in life–to us, to the people we love dearly and feel it would be impossible to be without. We have health scares, we lose things and jobs and people–we are all touched by death and deep sorrows where we don’t think we can go on, and sometimes we actually can’t go on for a while.
Things mostly don’t go the way we wished or hoped they would in life. We try to make things go our way, but it’s sometimes not the answer we want to hear and we panic–How will I be able to live with this? We croak out to ourselves.
And yet, we have this day. We have the notion that today, just for today, we will refuse to launch into the future. Just for today we will leave the barge of the wreckage of our past on the nearest street corner and walk on.
We have jokes and humor and wit. We have art and reading and we have spring. We have bike riding and photography and people around us who need us even if we feel we have nothing to give.
Because actually, we all do have something to give and what we have to give is that in the face of the terms of life which seem to be a giant unceasing dose of unknowing, we can choose to be there for someone else.
We can spend our day going from doctors’ office to doctors office with someone we love and care about so they don’t have to be alone.
We don’t have to do it perfectly either, but we can think of ways that people around us are struggling and ask ourselves, how can I be of service here?
We could get out of the giant project we have going of The Me Show for a little while and simply, without a big show, think of someone else and take action on those thoughts by reaching out and showing up.
There’s a paradoxical and rich happiness that comes to us from imagining what it’s like for someone else and then taking some action to alleviate suffering where we can for others and in so doing, we alleviate our own suffering.
We can never know what’s up ahead, but we can do what we can today, to lighten up and soften and take the next right action for others and ourselves from a place of service.
It’s through serving others that we are beautifully distracted from the terrifying not-knowing of life.
Bindu Wiles is a life-changing Life Coach who is in a mid-life crisis that she is walking, writing and photographing her way through. She has and undergraduate degree in fine art (photography) and 3 graduate degrees because the one she really wanted all along was an MFA in writing, which she finally received at 47 years of age from Sarah Lawrence College. The tattoo on her left forearm sums up her life motto: Art Saves Lives. She has completed a 300 page memoir, her essays have been published in various literary journals, she is bringing more of the under 12 years of age crowd into her life, and is always up for a good laugh. In fact, she is trying to stay in a state of silly as an approach to aging.
Editor: Tanya L. Markul