Possibilities / Poshopeilities

The most exciting thing about life to me has always been its endless possibilities: I saw the future as some kind of great wide open, like a Montana sky (which I’ve never actually seen in person, but which itself frequently registered amongst those happy swirling possibilities in my mind).

I was fed by, and led by these possibilities.  They allowed me, and gave me reason, to breath.

But in the last few days I found myself reduced to a state of stuffy claustrophobia brought on by the harrowing narrowing down of all those limitless outcomes into one single option:   You Are Going To Die Of Brain Cancer.

Of course I know that this is not an inevitability, and even if it is inevitable I know it’s not the one single truth of my life that now exists to the utter exclusion of all others.

But it is ({very} probably) true.

And it is (very definitely) a difficult obstacle to look around.  To say the least.

Oddly enough I did find myself somewhat recently able to not just look around this infinitely opaque Wall of BrainChance, but to actually stand on top of it and look over it, past it, again out into that Great Wide Open I’ve always loved so much.  That thing, whatever it is, that exists or will exist beyond: I could see it again.  Suddenly I didn’t care that the dark wall was there– it certainly shaped and colored the paths that led out from beneath my feet, and had some serious say in how I would walk them, but somehow I’d made it so that it no more blocked my way.  Rather than an obstacle, it had become like my shoes or the paths themselves: something that could lead me.  Something I could stand on.  Walk on.  Move on from.

And then the wall suddenly and very unexpectedly retracted into the ground, quietly and ominously slid a few paces forward, and rocketed up out of the earth in front of me to block my way once again.  Hard and fast.  It happened so fast it almost shaved off the front of my nose.

And it occurred to me that the thing that had changed, the thing I had lost, was the thing that draws life from possibility.  The thing that transforms possibility in to life.  It is the thing that I have spent the last three months thinking about and building and fostering and keeping lit and carrying on.

It is hope.

And I’d lost sight of it.

It had been taken away from me.  But I’m taking it back.

The power of hope to create life, real life –life worth living and laughing and sharing– in the face of certain impending doom– it’s one of the most remarkable and powerful things I’ve ever experienced.  Hope not only makes the difference between giving up and going on; it makes going on fun.  It makes those possibilities sparkle with potential again, where before there was only the grey haze of fear.

But it’s not always easy to maintain your grip on hope, and this is one way– one concrete way– where we can help each other.

Where hope is lacking, give it.  Where it is fading, foster it.  Where it has disappeared, rekindle it and watch as the smiles reemerge, warmed by a feeling they’ve known before, a feeling they know how to hold onto if the wind doesn’t blow too hard.

And if it does, help them shelter the ember until the storm has passed.

For if we have hope, we have possibility.  And if we have these two things, we have everything.

A lot of people have given me hope.  And it’s keeping me alive.