Friday, March 16, 2012


Rereading a collection of essays by Reeve Lindbergh, I came across this quote by theologian Donald Nicholl: "Hurry is a form of violence exercised upon time."

I liked that quote. I liked it so much that I stopped reading and wrote it down right then.

Hurrying to capture it, as it were.

In the fall months before I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in late 2004, I would get to a point every evening where I would be so cold and worn down that I would fall asleep in the very hot bath I had drawn to warm my chilled and aching body.

That memory is particularly strong these days because lately I have been getting to a point every evening where all I crave is heat and relief for my chilled and aching body. If I am not careful, I doze off sitting on the sofa, clutching a warm corn bag. When I fall into bed at night, it is with gratitude that I do not have to try to be capable of one more act, one more thought.

This winter I have dealt with a multitude of annoying medical matters, most of which turned out to be nothing, but all of which turned out to be inconvenient and tiring while they were occurring. A few, the cholesterol issue in particular, have lingered on into spring. I see both my personal physician, the amazing Pat, and my oncologist, the equally incredible Tim, in April. To the former, I will say "we need to come up with a new approach to the cholesterol." To the latter, I will say "I sure as heck hope the symptoms I am experiencing are related to the statin I am now taking and not to the myeloma."

I think (hope) it is, but I do not yet know. I may be whistling in the dark. Again.

All of this medical stuff, minor as it may be, has sharpened my awareness of time. Again. Time, time, time. How much time has passed already? Lots. How much more time is left? Don't know.

A blogger who writes about his myeloma for The Myeloma Beacon recently wrote about the effects of living with this disease for six years: "Multiple myeloma takes its toll.  A physician once told me that between the disease itself and the treatments, it wears you down.  I am certainly not what I was six years ago."

I know of what he writes. Myeloma, even when it is quiet (like mine has blessedly been), messes with your mind. It messes with your sense of time. 

Myeloma, including the reality of it one day reemerging, makes me want to hurry. Maybe that is in part because I don't know what I have left in terms of time but more likely it is because I know - for real, for sure - that time is finite and limited.  

And then I bump up against Nicholl's words: "Hurry is a form of violence exercised upon time."

I worked a very short day today, finishing off my 24 hour week before 10:00 a.m., before breezing out of the county building and walking home. I conscientiously walked slowly, not hurrying, not rushing. We are in the midst of a warm, early spring and today is more of the same. The air was gentle and every bird on the block was joining in the morning chorus. Crocuses, snowdrops, and daffodils are in bloom everywhere. Forsythia is budding. I walked slowly enough to see a sprinkle of white violets in the yard down the street.

I walked slowly enough to loosen my grip on time and linger in the moment.

Time takes enough of a pummeling from me as it is.  It is time to give time (and me) a break.


Sharon said...

I hear you on the little medical issues that drag you down. I've had quite a few this past winter myself. Always wondering if they are finding what ails me. I'm too young to feel this old. I feel like time is passing me by and I'm unable to enjoy it like I should.

I can't even imagine what you must be going through, I'm personally betting you have a long, long way to go...too much living to still do, my dear!

Even so, we all need to slow down and smell the flowers. They are quite pretty in March! :)!

Jenny Woolf said...

I'm sorry that you are battling with all these issues, April. And your approach is very wise. One of the nice things to do is forget time. We are so used to clockwatching that we forget to forget it.

When we were young T and I used to leave our watches off so we didn't have to think about the time. Interesting that even in our early twenties, free and unencumbered, time passing was obviously a bother. It was such a constructive thing to do. I think we should try it again.

Have a good weekend.

see you there! said...

Worries seem to make time both lag and speed up all at once. I hope you feel better soon and can enjoy that slow down time.


Anonymous said...

I read in a soup cookbook written by a monk once that time is sacred. I know I have moments when I think in this over-busy world that moving slowly and deliberately is an excellent sort of "revolt." It sounds to me like you have a good grasp on how to go about this.