Yesterday afternoon, I cozied up in bed with the dogs to do a meditation. Let’s be real; we all know that’s the prelude to a mid-day nap. When I woke up, I looked at my phone and quickly realized that the day had come: the FDA approved a treatment that will benefit a significant part of the cystic fibrosis population. Yet, as someone grateful enough to have been in the study for it, I knew that it simply didn’t cooperate with my liver.
"Your liver looks perfect," the hepatologist said after reviewing all the follow-up tests done to try to determine the reason for my elevated liver enzymes. "There are no underlying issues that could have caused this; it’s the drug." As the doctor delivered the news, a masked, immunocompromised Ramón sat across from me, halfway through his first round of outpatient chemo. As I looked down on this situation from above, I thought to myself, "This is kind of hilarious. Even a sitcom writer would know it's just too far-fetched to make both of us sick." As we walked across Emory’s campus to get Ramón’s blood transfusion, I remember saying, “If I had more energy, I’d cry right now.”
As I read yesterday’s breaking news, I was wearing one of my vintage t-shirts from CF camp, printed with the slogan "Where love grows and every breath counts." In that moment, I remembered that I am fortunate to be here. Many of my camp friends didn’t grace the world long enough to witness these advancements. I was conflicted as to what I should feel, but I realized there was no right or wrong to my emotions. As quickly as the sunset transitions from one color to the next to the next, I gave myself the freedom to feel how I felt.
Last night did not warrant a Best Night of Sleep Ever Award – not even an honorable mention. My mind was jumping from one topic to the next, and I started thinking about something I read last week. "There is no such thing as waiting. There is only being present in the moment. Don’t waste this moment. It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living." – Eckhart Tolle
I want to emulate Tolle’s idea that waiting isn’t a thing. So, as much as I wanted – and frankly would have been justified – to give myself today to regroup, I decided to live instead. After walking the dogs this morning, I went for a jog. I planned to run for 20 minutes, and it started lightly raining around minute 15. I considered hurrying home before the rain picked up more, but each drop made me feel more alive – as present as ever. I ran for 26 minutes.
When I returned home, I was quite drenched, yet I felt cleansed of self-pity. I know the rain didn’t rid me of every speck of disappointment, but it purified my heart and soul. Upon entering the house, I saw that my phone was blinking. "Who’s texting me at 7:19?," I thought. It was my dad; I know that because (1) his number is programmed in my phone, and (2) he ends every text “Dad.” The text read: "I ordered each of us a copy of Eckhart’s book, The Power of Now. Have a good day. Dad." After discussing Eckhart Tolle briefly last week, my dad’s timing was absolutely perfect. And, just like that, I know that things will align as they should. In the meantime, wait no more.