Post-Op

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This month, Sounds True published a new, expanded edition of Inside the Miracle: Enduring Suffering, Approaching Wholeness, which gathers twenty-eight years of my writing and teaching about suffering, healing, and wholeness, including thirty-nine new poems and prose pieces not yet published. One of the great transforming passages in my life was having cancer in my mid-thirties. This experience unraveled the way I see the world and made me a student of all spiritual paths. With a steadfast belief in our aliveness, I hope what’s in this book will help you meet the transformation that waits in however you’re being forged. The following piece is an excerpt from the book.

 

POST-OP

I could see it in your eye

when you thought I was dozing.

You thought you might lose me

and you started to remove yourself

as we do when pets are about to die

or old friends have decided to move.

But we are living with this,

not dying from it, and I

am not going, not until

the red bird flies

into the sun.

And you must not

corrupt the time we have

by double-living

what we will not.

So come on back.

Tell me your pain.

Utter your fear.

I feel it anyway.

This I’ve learned, the pain

makes the secrets known.

And so I saw you

sinking at the foot of my bed

watching the tubes run in

and out, saw you start

to fix the scene in your

future as a sad memory

of when I went away.

Come back to me. Now.

There are many futures

and each depends on us

today.

This is not about dying.

I have agreed to suffer

and therefore will live

like a gypsy exhausted

from his dance.

And you have chosen to love me.

So you will play my tambourine.

You will coax me to try

and urge me to stop.

And you will not have me

cleanly: in your life or not.

No. You will suffer too,

as I flare and fade

a hundred times,

while you marvel

at the secrets

I cough up from

the other side.

A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a loved one or friend, describe a time when you felt a friend or family member was giving up on you too soon.

"After 2 years of once a week therapy, this too is where I stand💖"

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