Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The balloon ended up deflating in a flood of tears rather than a round of screaming, and the techs who did my first radiation treatment this afternoon (who were women, and not the guys of the initial visit) thought I was crying because I was upset about the treatment.

I suppose there might have been something in that. But mostly it's because I feel that, like the Milk Guy's appliances, my circuits are fried--by a whole lot of little things rather than one big thing. And added to that is guilt. Huge amounts of guilt.

I live in a "developed" country. I am not homeless. I have healthcare. I have friends with electricity and food and . . . heck, I haven't had to cook or go grocery shopping in weeks. The Nurse Practitioner's comment kind of rankles, because I want to be selfless, but apparently only on my own terms. I used to think I would go On The Mission Field for the rest of my life and maybe live somewhere less "developed" than this country and, you know . . . have to boil water or something. I've been in many different countries and managed the hole-in-the-ground toilets and eating mystery foods with my fingers and washing my face in a bowl of water and wearing the same clothes days in a row, and it didn't bother me at all. But I chose to go there and do those things, and those were the things that were "done" in certain locations.

Those things aren't generally done here, and I had no control over the circumstances bringing them about. It's not like a camping trip, which I don't enjoy much either, but which I can choose and modulate a little. And so everything in me revolts (as it does in many people, I've observed). I can listen to myself and think I sound absolutely pathetic, and yet I'm still a bundle of nerves because I can't flick a lightswitch and see the entire room.

I feel that the timing of this "ordeal" (which I feel is an unfair word, because this could have been so much worse--it's no Katrina) is sort of interesting. By which I mean, it's making me think of Christmas a little differently. Usually there's all this talk about "the true meaning of Christmas" and to some extent, I usually squint my brain every year and try to remind myself that the birth of Jesus is so much more important than the Christmas tree and that it wasn't all pretty and cozy and lights. Not . . . that there's anything wrong with that.

This year I'm probably about as distracted from the birth of Christ as I've ever been, but I can't pretend I'm not interacting with it on some level all the same. There's so much going on in my life right now, and there's this kind of deprivation, and there's a very distinct (if presently guilt-inducing) reminder that Christmas is actually about inconvenience and deprivation. Jesus gave up all his glory (light! weightiness! splendour!) and schlepped around in a Roman-occupied "under-developed" country for thirty-some years, talking to a bunch of people who often didn't get what He was talking about. And Mary and Joseph gave up their reputations, and had to pack up their lives and trek down to Bethlehem, and then down to Egypt, and their lives were in upheaval for, oh . . . pretty much the rest of them.

Jesus kind of does that, I think. I suspect Mary and Joseph had to come to terms with that more than once. Unless, of course, they had no controlling tendencies at all . . . I kind of doubt it. But maybe I'm just thinking like that to make myself feel better.


Scott R. Davis said...

sorry you had to start radiation today. Hope you feel better soon. May God bless you in your trials. for Job was blessed in them too. Peace, scott

Barry Pike said...

I think this post is beautiful. I think you are doing an amazing thing, living this life of yours in the way that you are. You'll likely say it doesn't feel amazing, I know, and I'm sure that's true. But you may not be the best judge of such things, either.

Usually I lurk and say nothing, though I seldom miss a word. Occasionally I leave way-too-long comments. But I pray for you every time I read a new post.

I hope you have a Christmas overflowing with so many blessings that you feel conspicuous and even more guilt-ridden than usual (grin).

Jenn said...

Scott--it's not that bad. But thanks.

Barry--thank you, too. You're right. It doesn't feel amazing. But likely it would be amazingly unamazing if I thought I was amazing . . . Thanks for the benediction. I think? ;) Maybe the Diesel sweatshirt was the start of it . . .