Saturday, August 9, 2008
A recently popular song captured my attention. I liked it so much that I finally caved in and learned to download music from the internet. I tend to adopt new technologies very late in the game and need a really compelling reason to plunge into mastering a new device or gadget of any kind (unless it's related to cooking, in which case I must have it immediately).
The song was "Bubbly" by Coco Caillet. I like the song because the lyrics remind me of when Bill and I were dating.
I've been awake for a while now
You've got me feelin' like a child now
'Cause every time I see your bubbly face
I get the tingles in a silly place
It starts in my toes
And I crinkle my nose
Wherever it goes I always know
That you make me smile
Please stay for a while now
Just take your time
Wherever you go
Every time I hear the song I feel transported back to our courtship and the way Bill always made me smile and laugh. He literally came into my life without bringing any angst or bad feelings at all. We were always so happy together.
Whenever the song came on the radio, Bill turned the volume up so I knew that Bill loved the song too. Wanting to get the song for Bill without having to drag myself to Barnes and Noble, I braved the iTunes store. After listening to samples of the entire album I decided to download it en totale. Then I even went a step further and burned a CD (all together now: "Ooo! Ah!").
The first track on the album is called "Oxygen." I love the song, but the lyrics make me sniffle because I want so much to make Bill this same promise but I cannot.
Oh baby if I was your lady
I would make you happy
I'm never gonna leave,
Never gonna leave
It makes me sad when I think of how far Bill and I have come and the amazing marriage we have built together. It seems so unfair that my disease will take that away from us. But, secretly, I know scleroderma really gave it to us.
Kirk Douglas published an essay in Newsweek's My Turn column this week (they never publish my essays when I send them). In it he wrote, "The greatest dividend to old age is the discovery of the true meaning of love. When I was younger, my sense of love was not very deep ... Growing older brought me closer to my wife. It was like looking at her for the first time. I got to know who she was, and she really got to know me." I used to pine for the fact that Bill and I would not grow old together. In fact, I cried about that just last Sunday with my friend, Meade, who brings me communion when I cannot make it to Mass. But after reading Douglas' essay I realize that we have grown old together. Our lives just got compressed into a smaller period of time, and we are experiencing all the benefits and wisdom of old age but doing so far ahead of schedule.
I realize now that a chronologically shorter life is not necessarily incomplete. I once heard a sermon about the difference between the Greek Kronos, which refers to chronological time and Kairos, which I have heard referred to as "God's time" or an undefined period of time in which something significant happens. The former is quantitative; the latter is qualitative. As I sit here writing this I am struck but how powerful the concept of Kairos can be. What if we switched our conception of a lifetime from something defined by a quantity of time a la Kronos to a period during which something significant happens a la Kairos. Wouldn't that change all of us dramatically? I could stop mourning the time I will "lose" and focus on the time I have had, the time I still have. That's a powerful shift.
Also on the topic of oxygen, I am now on oxygen at night and it seems to be helping me sleep a little better. It doesn't help my shortness of breath during the day, but it's nice to at least have the nights be a little better.