Humanity has been in that strange place of being where our sentience allows us to contemplate the mysteries of the universe, while still being stumped and awed by the chaos and complexities of nature.
A week ago, I said bye to my family and boarded the plane. Airports must always bear the brunt of human emotions. I sat on the plane, and the tears came coursing down. I was so desperate for my dear friend’s life. I had been in denial – there was no doubt. I knew she had cancer and she was stoically, bravely fighting the Emperor of Maladies for over two years now. But I hadn’t realized how far it had gotten. I could not reconcile my friends’ vibrant, energetic, intelligent image in my mind with the one I saw a few days earlier. This girl, without whom I cannot imagine my childhood(the one who would brave anything for you), was fighting for her life.
Almost every important memory had her in it. A shining presence with her light of being – science lab, sports fields, classes, our home, the lanes of Lovedale. Boarding school bonds are unique. I had not kept in touch with most folks in my class after moving to the US, but I managed to reconnect with her after a few years. My children teased me every time I got off the phone with her (You have *that* look – they’d say, like you’d been talking to your Lovedale pals) It was true. I could not bring that smile any other time – I’ve tried. It is like the precious memories of childhood are saved in a special location in your brain that is accessible only by certain people, events, experiences, places, tastes, aromas (and odors!).
It has been a long few days since that flight back to the US. During this time, humanity has once again revealed its marvelous nature of being to us. Human beings as a species are redeemed only by their giving hearts, empathy and love. My dear friend now has a fighting chance and it all came through because of the generosity of many who knew her, and many who didn’t. Most of us had not seen each other or spoken to one another in years. Yet.
It was a privilege to see our collective love for each other surface through time and space and help out one of our own.
A shiver passed through me as I stepped out on a walk, and I inadvertently looked up at the stars. Plaedis cluster, and Orion the big hunter looked unusually bright on that cold, clear night.
“Mingle the starlight with your lives!”Maria Mitchell, Astronomer & Professor
I smiled up at the universe thinking of that quote. I had been in the skies (among the stars) when I had sent fervent prayers up for this girl, and the starlight had mingled in with our lives giving us hope again.
Now, we pray that her body accepts the treatment and she becomes healthy again.