Cancer Circus and Me
By Leonard William Zajicek
The season was again coming to an end and all looked forward to the months off. I still had my shinny shovel, though worn now from constant use and my job was still "picking up"! In winter quarters, I worked with paint brush and hammer to keep me busy. Again, I went to the VA hospital and again the results were negative. This was, of course, great news as I thought by now I would be putting on weight in some ashtray.
It was on one rainy day when, lying in my bed, I thought of all that had happened in the last seven years of my life. For now I was aware of all about me. Before, I used to take everything for granted and missed so much beauty. I remember when we would play a scrub lot, no grass, garbage that had to be picked up before show time, an unfriendly place. I would walk slowly about this lot and discover these small little brush plants that would abound in beautiful little flowers that others tread upon. With a handful of soil in my hand, I would discover all the colors it contained. I think of how I first walked upon the desert and thought of how sterile and vacant it was. For in those times I walked with a List step and missed much. Now, 1 walk slowly, with eyes and ears open, taking in all the glory and life it contains. The cactus, the flowers so small you must kneel down to see them, the spider who scoots across the sand, the tell-tale prints to let you know you are not alone. I thought of how I would gather up scrub wood and build a small, smokeless fire as the day went to rest. As I would sit and watch the flames dance, hear the crackle of the wood giving itself up for my comfort, I would meditate and give thanks for all my good fortune.
One time a coyote came within eight feet of me. We looked at each other in wonderment and I felt a closeness between us. I wished him well and with a nod of his head and his nose taking me in, left the light and vanished into the darkness. I've seen the hawk circle above in the moonlight and know soon some mouse shall not see tomorrow's sunrise. The coolness of the night makes me move to feed the fire with more wood and the desert thoughts fill my mind. I shall try to remember these thoughts and put them on paper so I can share them with others.
I think of all the anguish and pain I have felt, knowing now it was to give me this opportunity to acknowledge and be grateful that I have not passed away without this experience of life. My every heartbeat and breath are not taken for granted, my body is cleansed or at least controlled by my renewed spirit and soul. I think now of what and where I would be if I had given in to the relentless goal of cancer.
I think of how my life has changed to accept with understanding and patience the weakness of others. I realize forgiveness is the gift that most find hard to wrap. I know now peace is what we find when we push aside the clouds of disappointment. I know the strength of friends who do not let us walk alone. I can relate to the weakness of the flesh and know it is no match for the strength of the spirit. I am aware when we love someone we brighten our own aura.
My small fire dims as it has given all it can give. I reach for more twigs to feed it and find none. I know now I must move for more fuel for if I do not, my small fire will die. I shall not let it leave this world yet. As the warmth surrounds me, I think of relationships and how I avoided them because of my cancer. Yet, into my life came a woman who captured and broke the shield that enclosed my heart.
The magic of words to express my feelings for her do not exist. I tried with all that I am to tell her of my health and what could be in the future, yet she convinced me it was fate that brought us together and I accept that.
I think now of how the circus was my fire and how I reached out to find it. I know now I had to give my all to keep it bright. The fuel of positive thinking and humor has prevailed. The confidence I had in the doctors' skills and their words of not much hope gave me the challenge to survive. The chemotherapy I prescribed for myself gives me life. The rain has stopped and the grin which has been on my face so often now returns.
I say to all, accept this that blocks the path of your travels, push aside the obstruction placed before you, for we all have unknown strength within us if we only call out for it.
Go to your "Disneyland" with no fear, find your "circus" no matter what it may be. Walk slow, listen, see and hear the beauty about you and find someone to share with and to love. For the recipe of dreams are possible when love is the main ingredient. Live each day and let tomorrow take it's path with us in mind.