Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Taste of Life

Cherries aren't my thing. Actually, I love the sweet off the tree crisp sour sweet ones that can only be found in the ripeness of summer. The syrupy cloying gloppiness of the maraschino variety gives cherries a bad reputation. So, when offered cherry ice cream or pie or cake I pass. But once, at least 20 years ago, a piece of Black Forest Cake was so amazing that it still resonates in the memories of my tongue. Tart pie cherries almost too sour to eat, dense chocolate almost too bitter to eat stacked in impossibly high layers. Each bite a perfect blend of tart, bitter, savory and sweet.
This past weekend my closest women friends gathered for no other reason than to fulfill my birthday wish. At one point an almost 80 year span ran from my oldest to youngest guest. What a tremendous joy to have so much love fill up my little house. When women gather, at least the kind of women I hang with, more than just idle chatter fills up the spaces. The rich variety in each of our lives from the surface busyness of kids, careers, retirement, and vacations to the harder stuff like finding peace and one's place in the world created some great conversations. It was a truly memorable weekend.
I often hear folks say that their own trial or challenge isn't worth mentioning because it somehow doesn't measure up or compare to my own. As if MS has made my own life somehow so immeasurably worse than anyone else's that their trials are trivial in comparison. The tapestry of lives that were unfolded and poured over this weekend demonstrates how much value each person's life has and how much it means to me to be part of each person's journey.
Early this week came the sad news that one of my dearest friend's husband is very ill. I am simply heartsick for her. It is one of those times when I rail against this illness and the limitations it places on me. I want to jump in a car and be at her side. I want to clean her house, love on her kids, do something, anything. Instead I am sitting here in this hospital bed. I know others will step in. I know my prayers are more than enough. But, it isn't enough. 
What I have to figure out is how to live this life. So much in it is good. And, too much of it is achingly hard. Flip of a coin, from moment to moment. I am on this path and I believe it is where I am meant to be. I simply don't like it very much of the time. But, then there are those heavenly bites. The succulent bits that linger on my tongue and I am transported. Somehow I have to reconcile the two.

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