Thursday, September 10, 2009


3 months. Not a long period of time but long enough to effect great change. I am different. I have evolved again. I wonder what is in store for me now and I am excited to be facing the next adventure.

I find myself thinking of the chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly. Unlike many other butterflies, the monarch caterpillar creates a marvelous lime green shell with gold dots that masks and contains the incredible transformation that it makes as it becomes a wondrous butterfly - an amazing butterfly capable of migrations over thousands of miles.

As I reread my last post I realize how frightened and desperate I was to leave a record in case I did not emerge from my chrysalis. But I did emerge. What I went through was as close to death as you can get without actually seeing tunnels of light and watching paddle dances from 6 feet over your own body. Close enough for me.

I won't relate it all here because I have told my story to friends and family in a variety of venues over the past several months of recovery. Most times the telling was done as much for me as for them. I am celebratory as I think of what I have experienced and have found clarity and order in the oratorical process, giving it credibility and structure like some Homeric adventure.

My perspectives have changed. My priorities have changed. I have changed.

Every sunrise reminds me of a statement one doctor said,

"If you had stayed home a couple more days, you probably just would have gone to sleep and not woke up. I don't know how you went this long. My thinking is that you were just too stubborn to lay down and die."

What if I had died in my sleep--in Chicago 3 days before--or at home the night before we went to the ER? What a selfish and stubborn thing to do to people I love.

If I had died ... if the music had stopped suddenly... that would have been the end to painting, music, colors, light, flowers, embraces, smiles, etc. in my life. Yes, I do believe in eternal life but to shortchange this life in some kind of complacent 'betting-on-the-come' attitude must surely be an affront to God since he has supplied us with abundant blessings and talents to use in this one. Suffice to say I am embarrassed and humbled and determined to do a better job with NOW - this earthly life. I do not want to get caught with regrets of the undone, or regrets for the unsaid, or regrets for the wrongs done to others.

In this process, I was reminded of the woman I was in my early twenties, who was open and happy and fearless and driven to live with passion and unfettered love. My relationships reflected it and my art reflected it and my life reflected it. I was unwaveringly positive and strong. I am not so naive as to think I can be that youthful woman again, but I am determined to regain as many of those spiritual strengths and enduring qualities as I can - and live my life as it was intended ... from here on.

This is the day that the lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Absolutely. Then I will have few regrets.

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