In late November, just prior to my Whipple procedure, several of my closest friends from (Manhattan) College surprised me by joining us at Sunday worship service at our most excellent Church. It was a testament to how precious a good friend is and reinforced how merely being present during a challenging time can be incredibly empowering. During the impromptu brunch at our house afterwards, our resident funny-man sage, Jimmy, and I were discussing how difficult it can be to capture and keep the lightening that a life-changing event can bring to one's life. How easy it is - once the dust settles and the electricity dissipates – to just return to my life as if my world hadn't just been rocked nearly off its' hinges (to mix numerous metaphors).
I am experiencing that a bit now as I return to my "normal" life. Re-engaging full-time in my 9 to 5 professional life once again occupies the majority of my time. The competition of that commitment with the longing to spend a maximum of quality time with Noah and Ana (and Jacquelyn) is rekindled. Besides juggling those two balls, I signed up for a class on Pastoral Care and Counseling that meets on Monday nights. Then there's my adjuvant therapy (chemo, so far) and its' side effects. All of these are rewarding and/or necessary aspects of my life. All jostle for my attention and I wonder sometimes where the life-changing lightening went. I do recognize, of course, that there is a potential "buzz" for me within each of these. With all of the wonder and pain in this world, time is a cherished commodity for me once again – doubly so now. I find myself, even in this revamped life of mine, struggling to carve out the tens of minutes a day I would need to maintain a practice of daily meditation that I am convinced would be a huge benefit to my well being. (Besides continued good health) Maintaining a balance, making the time, prioritizing well – these are the things I pray to God for these days.
In this sense, Jacquelyn may have inadvertently misrepresented things a bit in her last post. In many ways I am not a different person than the Franco that I have been historically, let's say. But…in transitioning from my recovery from a serious abdominal surgery to battling cancer, I have made some changes that I think/hope will stick. I have taken what I thought was a healthy lifestyle (look what that's gotten me) and kicked it up a notch - by choice (as opposed to being medically necessary). I've cut down on a few vices, ranging from French fries on up. During my recovery, I had the time to reconsider and re-learn my approach to so many aspects of my life. Ultimately, I am trying to tend to myself holistically – not just my disease via the medical profession, but my physical well-being through diet and exercise, and my mind/heart/spirit through prayer and meditation and relationships.
At times it feels like I am trying to balance the profound and the mundane. Or maybe it is just that there is nothing mundane left. Maybe there never was. Maybe that's the lesson.