OTPION A: Having found a lump in my breast, I ignore it and pretend I’m okay. OPTION B: Having found a lump in my breast, I check it out, consult the appropriate health professionals, research my treatment options, and decide to refuse treatment. OPTION C: I go with Option B, except that I accept treatment. OPTION D: I kill myself.
Seems to me that all my options require courage, even Option A–I’ve watched two friends die a long and horrible death after going with Option A, and they were as brave as they come. There is no one answer: any one of these options might be an appropriate measure at one time or another. When you suffer (good word here) large, unescapable losses, as any disease will bring, you don’t really have a choice: You have to be brave.
I have noticed, however, that I do seem to live with a little more grace than usual. I always wanted more grace but, being an extravert who reaches for the telephone under stress, I’ve spent my life envying introverts, whose withdrawal under stress appears to protect them from being observed during life’s more undignified moments. Not me. I am loud about pain. I’m even on the internet. Still, after facing some of my biggest fears, I find myself still here. Compassion, one of the gifts of grace, is unavoidable as most of the people I encounter are (at least up to now) facing far worse than I am.
During the last three days, I have tried to paint myself being sort of brave but not really, and the painting came out pretty well–it was actually recognizable as me–except that I didn’t quite like the expression and the right eye was too high. Thankfully, I photographed it before I “fixed” it beyond all recognition. I could never make it look like me again. I really do like this painting and next time, before I go fixing something that might not be so bad after all, I’ll just start with a clean slate. Can’t do that in life very often, but art is more forgiving.