The doctor called with my latest test results. “Your cat scan was stable.” she said. I was silent. My immediate reaction was that’s fine, serviceable, like propping up a wobbly table leg with a book of matches. “Everything OK?” she asked. Yes, everything was OK. OK is good, right? What was I expecting? What did I want her to say? Your cat scan was great? Yeah.
Reason returned, however, as I contemplated the past year in the rear view mirror. The hardships we survived deepened my understanding of the word stable; its worth has appreciated a thousandfold. The dictionary defines it as “the strength to stand or endure.” And boy have we all been poster children for endurance. For too long I’ve felt like the world under my roof… the one with polished oak floors and lush carpeting…was replaced by an empty space with only studs to walk on, revealing gaping holes that rendered every move dangerous and…unstable.
Now as we draw closer to “after” time, and the fears that devoured my peace of mind begin to fade, I say yes to convenience over cost, yes to buttered toast, yes to saying no more often. How lovely is the safe and familiar. Seeing the eye doctor and the dentist and the waitress at my favorite restaurant. Picking out tomatoes at the farmer’s market. Watering the begonias. Wearing lipstick. Since childhood I’ve been a confirmed practitioner of delayed gratification, savoring the best for last. No more. Says the wise ratty old tee shirt I’ve worn for years, Now is the new later.
In contrast to this comfy mental state, the mood of recent high school graduates is fired up. Opportunity was spritzed in the air at every commencement speech. The young drag to trash the phrases I’ve so come to appreciate like “status quo” and “the usual.” After spending too much of their senior year isolated and still, they’re ready to swing off to the next tree and see what’s up there. As their hearts beat faster thinking of venturing into the unknown, I’m bingeing Mash reruns.
Am I jealous…maybe a little. Certainly of their enthusiasm. So many things are happening for the first time…and each one creates a forever memory. And I do admire how comfortable they are with change. When you’re young, “new” constantly reboots your brain’s computer. I live each day one Google away from a computer break down. So do I yearn to change places with wild and exciting? Nah, right now I’m good.
The secondary definition of stable is “the resistance to chemical change or to physical disintegration.” This speaks to me as I stand firm against cancer. Summer 2021 finds us riding the wave in a leaky boat that survived a hurricane with 80 mile per hour winds. We’re closer to shore and the rain has stopped but we continue to heave buckets of water overboard to stay afloat. We’re tasked with resuming messy life, albeit on a more even keel. In this season of nectarines and 8:30 sunsets, may we all safely ride the wave.