I read about Jason's New Year’s resolution on his blog. He resolved "... to turn every moment of my life into a song of praise." He closed the blog with this quote from Hafiz which I'd like to steal and just lie to people and say I wrote it:
“It is all just a love contest. And I never lose.”
On December 26 I marked the 2nd anniversary of my diagnosis of ALS. The night before the diagnosis Mac, my dad and I had gone to my favorite Burmese restaurant in San Francisco. My Dad opened his fortune cookie that night and read out to us the words "You will have very good luck in the near future." He carefully put the fortune into his wallet and said "I'm going to hang onto this one". The following morning Edith, my Dad and I sat in a room while a neurologist told me I had this fatal and incurable disease. I know my Dad said things after the doctor left us alone and I imagine one of them was that he loved me, however the first thing that I remember him saying is " I'm throwing away that fucking fortune."
Call me crazy but that's the restaurant I wanted to go back to on this weird anniversary. So there we were again, Mac regailing us with more information on the health care plan than I could understand in a normal-length lifetime while my dad fed me.
Afterwards, my Dad dropped Mac and me off near Union Square where we braved the rain and the outrageous herd of humanity out looking for a good bargain. At one point we got separated in Macy's. Mac had my cell phone as well as his own. I was the proverbial lost kid. A gentleman helped me out by calling Mac and telling him where to find me and I was really glad for cell phones because it would have been really humiliating to have some loud speaker say "We have a red-headed woman in a wheelchair at the customer service desk. She's wearing a black coat and is looking for her son. If you have a lost parent, please come to customer service to claim her." Plus, if someone gave me a fucking lollipop I wouldn't be able to hold it.
So there we are beating our way through the throngs and the rain has soaked me right through and I can't think of a more opposite anniversary than last year with all my friends in a circle at the beach holding candles. But there I was in the BART with my favorite person on the planet and we're looking through the car and there is this man with his two kids and they are getting on his nerves, I can tell. He's answering them but he's not listening at all. He wants them to shut up. And then there is this couple not speaking to each other staring straight ahead kind of dull-eyed. A young guy is listening to some music and someone else is texting and I say to Mac "look at that guy. He doesn't even know what he has to lose, yet he's one thin hair away from losing it all. Or one moment away from falling in love with his kids all over again. None of these people know that they are balancing on the head of a pin and this might be one of their last best moments." Mac nodded either in agreement or to stop me from lecturing and asked if I needed more morphine, but it was an amazing moment. Soaking wet after an irritating day which marked a huge event in my life and yet.....
being with Mac that day I felt so alive and so real and so true and so lucky that enough bad things have happened to me that I know what I have. I know that a boring BART ride at the end of a crazy day can be miraculous and wonderful.
Sometimes when I read my brother's blog I get the same feeling that I got on that train. It's this feeling that awe and wonder are all around us waiting patiently for us to look up from what we are doing and say "Oh look -- you're here. I didn't see you come in."
Hafiz and Jason are right. It really is all a love contest.
And I never lose.