Friday, February 18, 2005

Waiting for Tomorrow

Last night I had a dream that I was getting dressed to go to see the doctor. I knew I was sick, but the nature of this illness was hidden. I walked into the bathroom, glanced at the mirror and saw my reflection not where I stood, but behind me in the shower. When the fogged door opened there I was, dripping wet and sitting on a plastic chair. I did not get up, but instead called out a name.

I sat there, strands of white hair spilling over my ears, my chest sunken, my bony knees protruding like the roots of a cypress tree.

Gazing into the mirror, I saw myself as an old man.

After what seemed to be a tedious wait, a young woman came in and helped me out of the shower. She brought me a towel and a walker and I shuffled off, carefully eyeing the tiled floor in front of me. My name was written on the towel in black magic marker. The walker had yellow tennis balls stuck on the bottom of its metal legs. Neither she nor I spoke a word.

I then left the vision in the mirror and walked downstairs and out to the garage, where I climbed into my car and backed out into the driveway. Just as I started out I braked and looked into the rear-view mirror. I could see the oak tree in my back yard. Sunshine dropped through the shadows of the immense branches and formed a patchwork on the grass, and the leaves fussed from the breeze.

There were people walking all over the lawn.

I saw my son tossing a ball to a little boy in shorts, while two older girls sat gossiping under the tree. They called out "Father!" and he turned. He looked the same age as I am now, his hair dappled with gray. My wife and daugher stood nearby talking. My little girl was tall and tanned, and as she spoke my wife handed her a feisty-looking baby.

I peered into the small rectangle for several minutes, but never did catch a glimpse of anyone who looked like me. The last thing I remember before awakening was driving off down the road, unable to release even a sigh. The streets passed by silently, and I encountered no other cars on the desolate road.

What does the future hold for us? Will we cheat death for so long that we outlive the life we begged for, or will we instead be harvested early, spared from any further rendezvous with the lash? Such thoughts are but fantasies found in dreams - except for those living with cancer. For them speculation is not a phantasm. It is a daily reality thrust upon them, like an uninvited guest at the table. We who live without such a burden can honor those who do by remembering that unless one respects the future as the gift it is, waiting for it is pointless; it is worthless; it is absurd.

12 Comments:

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Kay said...

Death is inevitable whether we like it or not. If we can celebrate birth why not celebrate death also. This is greatest insecurity we have.
Pain, especially pain of the disease like cancer etc. is intense and depressing with no hope, nothing to look forward to.
But great are human beings. They evolve some mechanism to cope with all the distress, frustation and pain. So powerful is the mind that one can relax and enjoy even worst of our times. Accept death and accept the way it will come to each one of us. Suddenly you are at peace with yourself.
It is not repression but intense awareness.It is acceptance.
There is no waiting for tomorrow but ecstacy and happiness is right here even for people suffering from most dreaded diseases. Only method is higher mental and emotional consciousness.

 
At 2:04 AM, Blogger bronwyn said...

Eloquent, as usual...

There are those of us who are ill but do not face death... We face life with illness as a companion. Your piece seems to me especially fitting in that setting, where it is easy to fall into self-pity and nonfunction. Your words are a stiff reminder.

Nicely done.

 
At 2:43 PM, Blogger Saint Nate said...

Hey, would you mind if I printed this up and used it as a study in how small, subtle details in writing can create an entire scene? Many of the little things you mentioned -such the tennis balls on the walked and the dapples of gray in the father's hair - come together to create a poignant portrait in words. This is the kind of piece that makes me shake my head and say, "Now why can't I write like that?"

And the timing of this piece, along with Kay's and Bronwyn's comments couldn't be better for me. I seem to have run afoul of some immortality seekers lately, so the more mature and insightful views of life are very refreshing.

 
At 4:37 PM, Blogger poopie said...

Awesome post. ^j^

 
At 10:29 PM, Blogger Dreaming again said...

Bronwyn ... I had the same reaction you did. Living with Myasthenia Gravis and Lupus combined ... it would be very easy to give into the diseases ... and who would blame me. But to give into the disease ... means living in depression... I'd rather fight the depression, but some days, I just need a reminder that there is more to my life than doctor's offices, blood tests and physical therapists.

 
At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

moving...so well written. you draw me in every time.
~G

 
At 10:27 PM, Blogger John said...

Your writing is astonishing. I love your posts and I will continue to read them intil you decide to stop.

 
At 5:34 AM, Blogger Jarle said...

Nice blog you've got here Craig! Keep it up.

Cheers, Jarle

 
At 11:45 AM, Blogger Jarle said...

Hi Craig! I just wanted to tell you that I've linked your nice blog.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Dr. Charles said...

great post, with the humble sentiments well-appreciated!

 
At 7:32 AM, Blogger Starman54 said...

Great blog i have a dreams It relates to dreams stuff. Come and see when you get time.

 
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