the moment

I’m really grateful for the kind people who responded to last week’s post with expressions of sympathy and well wishes. It is always so wonderful to be surprised by who bubbles up to encourage me in my times of need.

I had not shared the story of my cancer situation freely before that post. I’d told a few people, but I’ve also been keeping it kind of quiet.

Like I wanted it to be a secret. Maybe this cancer can be dealt with quietly and it will go away without anyone having to know.

It’s been a big secret to have to carry. I am ready to share it more openly now.

There is an old saying:

When shared with a friend, good news is doubled and bad news is halved.

The people who care about me are often extremely generous with their interesting and support.

Those people that insist on keeping a secret? The ones who whisper “don’t tell..”?
Or those others who say “don’t you dare tell or else…”?


My story is mine. It’s up to me to decide on the right time to share it. I had to choose the time that was right for me.

Too soon can be confusing. I want to examine the situation myself and carefully come to my own conclusions. I had to encounter each new bit of information on my own and get clear on what was most important and what questions I have and for whom.

I didn’t want to muddy the waters with more opinions than I could handle.

Secrets have their own time.

If I have a healthy place for it to mature the secret can be kept. With the right amount of freedom and fresh air, without pressure, heat or poisonous stagnation, things can grow into the right moment for release.


I don’t want to be in a battle. But waiting on the edge of one I can’t escape is even worse.

  • Pippin (from the movie Lord of the Rings _The Return of the King_

It’s easter Sunday and I’m writing this before I’ll need it. I don’t know what will happen after the 14th. This is scheduled to send on April 19th.

I know what will happen ON April 14th. I will have a surgery that removed my right breast and all it’s tissue. In January I had a routine mammogram and cancer was discovered. On February first a surgeon doctor talked with me and said they’d need to remove the whole thing to remove all the cancer.

That’s a lot to contend with. Just the word CANCER shook me. And that was just the start. How should I feel about this news?

As it happened, I had to feel a lot of ways before deciding what I wanted to feel. That was the end I was trying to achieve. How could I hold this reality in my sight and be okay with it?

Breast cancer is a very feminine thing. I responded in a very female way: How is everybody doing? How are my family? Are all the people in my circle ok?

I knew I wasn’t ok, but I also knew it would take time to get to ok. As a woman I couldn’t neglect all the people I had responsibilities towards. Still had to feed the cat and water my plants.

My feels and perspective passed through a lot of shades and hues before I arrived at my current détente.

How appropriate that Easter lands right before my surgery. The triumph of the resurrection is a wonderful template for my experience. I will go under and come up anew.

I’m keeping my eyes on that. Although I walked around contending with death for the first few weeks after the news, I have come to see (thank you medical team and friends!) that I will recover and get moving along my life.

Right now, this moment I am worried about what happens after the surgery. How will I feel? How much will it hurt and how long? What will be different after this change to my body? What will be the same?

Will I still be myself?

Part of who I am and who I want to continue to be in the world is a woman who writes.

I can’t know how I’ll feel after the surgery. But I can prepare for the things I know.

I know I will want to write about my life and experience as I have done for so long. I want to share what’s going on for me and give post-surgery me a little help by queueing up this post. My plan is to give a little (as must as is appropriate) update after so you can all come along with me through this.


Keep time

After nine years at the same job, I lost it. It was a tough time. I was very ignorant about how to look for work. I applied to jobs and got no responses. If only someone would interview me!

With persistence and practice I started getting requests for interviews. At last! That longed-for goal.

During that job hunt and the others that followed, I developed a policy: say yes. Any interview any time. Yes.

This encounter with a hiring manager cannot be simulated or practiced except by doing it. Sure, I can talk to a mirror or even have a friend playact with me.  It’s not the same. It cannot be replicated.

Last night I fulfilled a dream of playing music with others. I’ve been practicing alone, remembering when I would perform with others. My keyboard, with the guitars, drums and bass.

For more than a year I’ve been longing to join some others. I’s gotten an invitation to join some musicians. I was so excited! I packed my keyboard and stand and got there too early.

That’s how eager I was.

There was socializing, eating and drinking. I was having some great conversations but I was tapping my foot to get to the music making.

Someone started to tune her guitar and I started to set up my keyboard.

I discovered….i forgot the power cable


My friend pointed to the piano. Gulp

Not my instrument. The feel was different. The sound was a bit off.

I picked out some notes, then I chose a song and started.

And the dam fell. All the musicians around me joined in.

I wasn’t ready!

The song was going and I didn’t know my way through it. Was I reading that chord right?

It sounded wrong but the song was going, and everyone had joined it. I couldn’t’ back out now, the song was flowing like water down a cliff. I could hear my instrument and the guitar next to me.

I didn’t know it but two other guiltars—three!—had joined in.

It has happening, I was doing it. I was doing it badly with every  wrong note ringing in my ears and it was ok. As long as I didn’t panic and give up. Don’t stop before the end.

I didn’t stop. We didn’t stop.

Nothing like that moment. No machine, no simulation. That moment of humans interacting and creating was exactly what I wanted. It was overwhelming and terrifying. It’s what I want.

I want it again and I want to do it better next time.

I had to say yes and step off the cliff.

This moment, this present is the only one. I am even more committed to the policy of yes.


A professor, giving a lecture on the ancient history of war, brought up the ancient Greeks. Of course.  I don’t believe people can talk about the history of war and neglect Homer’s battle for Troy.

This professor had the same priorities, but he mentioned another teacher who—when speaking of ancient Greek history—preferred to talk about war as little as possible.

It’s so ugly. Let us rather speak of the beautiful thoughts and art that Greece created.

Edwin Starr’s song says it, “War—what is it good for? Absolutly nothing!”

Starr and this second professor are in agreement. Skip that part.

However, ugly as it was, all the greeks were engaged in war. The Spartans, of course, but even the Athenians were at it pretty much constantly.

I take war seriously and would avoid it as often as I can.

But just like the architects who made the structures that are glorious ruins now, I know that some support structures are required. What does it take to hold up this roof? They would not know if they didn’t make the attempt and learn.

Did the structure of those glorious works of art require the load bearing pillar of battle to spring into existence?

Is there an ingredient or a catalyst in the art of war that made the beautiful possible?

I am reminded of the speech from the movie The Third Man: “in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

Unappealing as it is, if war is part of what led to great things, I want to understand it. What is it made of?

There are realities to how the sausage is made. Being ignorant and refusing to ask questions leaves me open to traps.

Any student of warfare could tell about dangers in blind spots.

Ugly scary stuff is usually the part I don’t look at. That’s exactly where I need to investigate.