We’ve been at the farm this week. The top photo was a shot I took as the sun was setting. I zoomed in on the sunset to crop out all the stuff that took away from its beauty. But then, when you zoom out, you see what’s around it.
Zoom out. There’s work trucks. A trash bin and loading pallet. There’s a storage container. Because as you know, Hurricane Laura decimated the Vincent family farm. And then it got hit again by Hurricane Delta. Progress is being made, but it’s slow going. Rebuilding from the ground up.
Then, if you pan over a little to the left, you’d see this picture at sunset.
Zoom in – sunset exclusively in focus. Zoom out – sunset distracted by hurricane clean up pieces. Zoom over – a handsome son enjoying a fire he built.
I planned to write. For over a week. I meant to. But I’ve been pretty antisocial this holiday. I’m avoiding telephone calls. I haven’t seen anyone besides my crew. And everytime I go to do something, I just stop.
So when I finally made myself sit down to write today, I thought about how our perspective changes when we zoom in or out or over. (And I seriously hesitated using the word Zoom at all in a 2020 wrap up post.)
I stopped that last week. Not permanently of course, but I allowed myself to be grumpy. And conflicted.
I wanted the kids to stay home because I wanted to spend time with them because TIME FEELS VERY PRECIOUS. Except while they were home they were fighting and I was yelling at them and I just wanted a break. A break from my kids? While I have breast cancer? It felt terrible to even think because time feels shorter and I should treasure every moment. But I couldn’t treasure a thing because I was tired and had a ton of cooking to do and the house was messy and the kids were fighting. (It got better! We had a great Wednesday! All the cooking got done!)
Perspective. How do you reconcile the warring perspectives? Zoom in, kids fighting and chaos. Zoom out, life is short and enjoy every minute. Zoom over, good progress on treatment.
I had a really positive appointment with the medical team at MD Anderson last week too. It turns out the cancer is Stage 1 not Stage 2, hallelujah, and it looks like the garden variety, hormone positive, breast cancer that makes up 70% of the cases. Another huge praise. When you have cancer, you want the early stage, run of the mill stuff.
There are still things to pray about. We are praying my genetic testing comes back all clear. Praying the surgery (which is scheduled for February 4th) will confirm no cancer in the lymphnodes like the ultrasound showed. Praying the genomic testing done on the tumor doesn’t show a high reproduction rate so I won’t need chemotherapy.
While I feel like I’m constantly zooming over to the treatment course, another phone call today to move forward with the genetic counseling, I’m trying to remember to zoom out more.
How far out? Well, at least as far out to see the glorious 2021 in the near future.
I’m not delusional. I do not think 2021 is going to be a panacea. We still have a world fighting a pandemic and inequality in the distribution of medicine to stop it and inequity in our socioeconomic and racial fault lines and infighting over silly political memes.
Yet. I find hope in 2021. I find hope in a relief from an election year. In a vaccine which will hopefully curb the spread of this vicious virus. In a 5th grade graduation ceremony and 15th wedding anniversary and hubby’s 50th birthday. I believe this time next year I will be cancer free and hopefully able to love on the next round of women who are feeling all the things I’m feeling right now.
See, you would think by zooming out, if you use those pictures above as a guide, I would see the pain and things that mar the beauty. But no! By Zooming out, you see the things that bring restoration. You see the work trucks which bring people to construct and build and clean. You see the containers that kept family heirlooms safe while the rebuilding happens.
The restoration isn’t pretty. It’s dirty and messy and ugly and takes way longer than it should. But in the end, RESTORED.
It reminds me of Nehemiah. In the beginning, the walls of Jerusalem are broken down and the gates destroyed by fire. He leads the effort of rebuilding, an effort attacked on every side. The work gets done though. When you get to Chapter 3, it lists all these different families doing the messy work of restoration (Jeshanah Gate repaired by Joiada, Fish Gate was rebuilt by the sons of Hassenaah, Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallun, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, and on and on).
It’s what we’re all doing. We’re all just restoring a little bit.
Zoom out. You’re rebuilding civility. And you, you’re restoring justice. You, quiet one in the corner, you’re rebuilding with art or medicine or education.
It’s messy. Maybe it’s not as pretty a picture as when we’re so zoomed in on ourselves. On that solitary sunset. But oh how it reflects the community working together toward restoration.
And that’s why there is such hope for 2021. The teachers and medical workers and first responders and lawyers and grocery clerks and students and retirees and all of us. We’re doing the hopeful messy restorative work.
Keep going. With all it’s conflict and uncertainty and stepping on each other’s toes. It’s work worth doing.