Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"I'll Put the Kettle On"

I walked into the grand opening day of the cancer resource and support center and was greeted with a smile and those famous words, "I'll put the kettle on." Those words remind me of 4 years now in Caithness where a cuppa is essential for any visit of more than a few minutes. Oddly, it also reminds me of the cowboy movies I watched as a young girl in the balcony of the movie theatre on Saturday mornings. The expectant father was always sent to boil water. Did you ever see anyone use the water they boiled? I'm sure it was for a nice cuppa after the baby got there and the work was done.

In this case, I was having a cuppa to finish off a job where I had been actively on the sidelines, much like the expectant father. It was not my Serious Health Concern, so I won't mention that here. Suffice it to say that it was big and scary and my job was to wrangle an incomprehensible medical system into compliance and help the person whose Serious Health Concern it was get through it by appearing to be confident and in control whether I felt like that or not. In fact, the less I felt like it, the more I had to appear otherwise.

Last summer was lost to appointments and tests and treatments and eventual good news, but since then I had been getting back to normal, except I wasn't quite sure how to find normal again. Although I was not alone then or now and I am grateful to all the family and friends who supported me, I had pushed some of my concerns out of the way as best I could. So well that I could not get them out again even though summer was here again.

I discovered that I had pushed them so far down that I noticed they were still there only by the space they took up where something else should be--the point where a real laugh starts and that part of vision that governs whimsy. I was laughing, and whimsy was back in my life, but I noticed a hesitation, a cautiousness in both.

I was not sure when I walked into the center why I was there, but I was confident the reason would come out somehow. I chatted with people who knew what it was all about, which was somehow easier than talking with friends, even loving knowledgeable friends and family.

Over a cuppa and a home baked chocolate sponge, I loosened the last of the knots with which I had bound up my own fears. It was safe to let them run around unfettered in a room full of women who have faced their own fears. Next week I'll be back. I may need to talk some more or maybe I'll need to do some listening to someone who is still trying to find a place to put her own concerns. Either way, I'll have a cuppa and take my knitting.


At 10:32 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

This is touching. You helped yourself and, I'm sure, the others. Many's the time I've entered a place or a conversation without knowing consciously why, but as it progressed, the reason became evident.

At 5:04 AM, Blogger TerriRainer said...

If I was closer, I'd bring my fly-swatter and entertain you with my cow hearding abilities.

I find that if you can still laugh through your trials, then they seem lighter afterwards.

:) Terri

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

beautifully said, and great to be excavating the past. It's easy in the rush of things to just keep going, but that not-quite-rightness doesn't go away on it's own. It needs space, empathy, and the patience to wait for it's emergence. I know it all too well.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Thanks all. I am sorry to be slow in responding. Things have been busy here.

Yes, followiong your intuition and making space for things is very important.
Terri, I would love to see you with your fly swatter in action. If my photos come out, tomorrow I'll share with you some images of Castle Sinclair-Girnigoe. It waas a cloudy day so I may be out of luck. We'll just see what develops--literally.


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