Last month, when the second doctor saw me after the first doctor had diagnosed the shiny new suspicion, the second doctor said, “Can you feel it?” in regard to the tiny, unwanted spot in my lung. And I said, “Heck, no. I feel wonderful.”
And I did. Not a wheeze, a cough, or a tightness. I wasn’t hot or cold or sniffly or even tired. Stopping to think about it, I felt absolutely perfect. We don’t stop to think about this very often. I realized this when I was pregnant with Jake – I’ve written about it on the blog actually:
When I was nauseated for at least five months of my last pregnancy, I told my husband, “Do me a favor. Sometime well after the delivery [of this little monster, I implied but certainly did not mean], just casually ask me one day, ‘How’s your stomach feel?’, because I know I will forget this moment. I will forget how awful this is. The nausea will fade slowly one meal, one day, one “what-dolt-called-this-morning-sickness” at a time, and I will completely take for granted the desire to eat and the thrill of not throwing up afterwards.”
I didn’t want to forget. I wanted to be grateful every day ever after that I was not nauseated anymore.
Do you ever feel like you cannot go a day without bad news? It’s not always your own, thank goodness. But a friend’s or a family member’s or the friend of a family member or the family member of a friend. Or even slightly more removed than that. Technology connects us to a hundred other tribes beyond our own. And it seems like the bad news never ends, because we’re hearing it from all those tribes all the time, when we might only have the grace to fully handle the trouble of our own.
But this made me wonder what it would feel like if news of ordinary fineness traveled as swiftly and dramatically as the trouble does. “Dear Family, I thought you should know: I feel well. My lips aren’t even chapped. Which we all know is a feat in this weather.”
This post is not a complaint about our petty complaints. I know the cold is miserable and being sick again is a huge disappointment, and don’t even get me started on waiting too long at a stoplight or losing your keys. (Man, I hate to lose things. It’s maddening!) So when my mom and sisters and I posted happy thoughts on facebook yesterday – “I feel healthy,” “The sun is shining,” “My kids are great” – we were neither vaguely referencing some dramatic good news (as I’m afraid some of you may have thought in my case), nor were we trivializing anything less-than-positive you might have needed to share. There is a lot of trouble, after all, and we need to tell it to the tribe.
It was just a little movement we thought we would try – to post the positive mundane and see if it shifted the balance so that bad news seemed more rare. It was, in a way, a gentle but barbaric yawp. Next time you no longer have a cold or a hangnail or too much tired, you should try it, too. Take a minute and notice that, hey, everything’s totally fine.