What do you want for your birthday?
"Many people shy away from community out of a fear that it may become suffocating, confining, even vicious," Sanders adds; "and of course it may, if it grows rigid or exclusive. A healthy community is dynamic, stirred up the energies of those who already belong, open to new members and fresh influences, kept in motion by the constant bartering of gifts. It is fashionable just now to speak of this open quality as 'tolerance,' but that word sounds too grudging to me -- as though, to avoid strife, we must grit our teeth and ignore whatever is strange to us. The community I desire is not grudging; it is exuberant, joyful, grounded in affection, pleasure, and mutual aid...Taking part in the common life means dwelling in a web of relationships , the many threads tugging at you while also holding you upright." - Scott Russell Sanders
That would be my answer.
In spite of or because of the unexpected, abrupt, and traumatic episodes associated with chronic-illness, the journey is beyond imagination and simultaneously fueled by our imaginations. At times the only way through a particularly troublesome, painful, disjointed experience is rest, quiet, isolation. Terri Windling writes: "One of the strange things about a long-term medical condition is the abruptness with which it can overturn your life. Most of the time it simmers quietly in the background, folded into the rhythm of the days, time-consuming and annoying perhaps, but also familiar, under control. That control is entirely illusory, however, for bodies are complicated things and don't always act in the prescribed ways that medical textbooks say they should. And when they don't, there isn't always a clear and demonstrable reason why. One day you're just like everyone else: doing your work, paying your bills, making plans as though the future is ordered and predictable; and the next day you're flat on your back. Again. Feeling like Charlie Brown the umpteenth time Lucy pulls the damn football away..."
But there are other times when being with others is the juice of life that makes for the balance. I am awake and seated at the counter of the newly transformed Spider Web Kitchen on my 70th birthday morning. I have drunk two cups of peppermint tea with honey, and nibbled my way through treats left by a certain spider (who snoozes under the covers at the moment). The roar of commuter traffic is well underway. Out from the woods we have exchanged the quiet of forest and mold for the openness of prairie and highway noise. A cup of that for a dose of this ... you know the reciprocal element.
I wish for myself and my community the web of threads that both keeps us connected and supported while allowing room to wander off to our corners to tuck in for solitary times of restoration. The kitchen clock ticks, I hear it between the sound of rubber on wet pavement. My birthday has begun. Hot damn ... let the music of the day sing on~~
Thank you for reading my blog and being part of our web!!
P.S. And other practical wishes for my birthday?
- red rubber boots (being supplied by Tita Wise)
- a big bag of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (anyone a Costco shopper?)
- Brown Butter & Coconut cookies from the Flower House Cafe in Bayview
- birthday apple pie (Yes, I'd love it Jude!)
- beach walks
- moon gatherings on the Prairie Front
- fragrance free visitations for tea and company
And pics added to ...