Licking The Wounds

bicycle-1869176_640I write my wounds. Every day.

And people ask me why I do. I don’t know. I just do. And often my words come back to bite my ass. Often I’m still the punchline. And even at this age, it hurts to get punched.

Last week I stood in my kitchen and made a grilled cheese (lent) sandwich with provolone cheese. And I thought, I used to work in a deli. All at once I wanted someone (anyone) to know I had worked in a deli. I wanted someone to be aware of that fact. I didn’t want it to be forgotten. And I know how foolish that is. Who gives a shit? But I fear I’ll be forgotten.  And I know it doesn’t matter that I worked in a deli. I knew my lack of proportion. But it’s the fact that’s disproportional; it’s not the fear. And I know that.

And I know I’m not read anymore. But sometimes it matters more it’s in words than whether or not it’s read. So. I’ll blurt without edit.

I had such a lovely weekend. I’ve had a lovely week. I thought today about 55. I’m almost 55 years old. You know what’s great about 55? I’ve learned balance. I can do balance.

Physically the weekend has sucked. The medicine doesn’t seem to be working anymore. I’m weak and I’m having trouble breathing. I’m so nauseous and I’m so lightheaded that I’m having difficulty trusting my actions. But it’s okay. I’m not afraid anymore. My foot is now bleeding from three separate ulcers. I’m using 4×4 gauze pads, gauze, & surgical tape to wrap my foot. It’s okay. I’m not afraid anymore.

I took my parents on a car ride today. I wanted to show them the potential theaters for my play. The theater I had chosen is closing May 17, so I’m searching for a space again. While driving around MPLS I saw so many bicyclists and I started to cry. I’ll never bike again. Biking was huge to me. And I’ll tell you why.

When I was a boy I rejected sports. I saw the cruelty of competition so I stopped competing. It was a very difficult moral decision. It meant I excluded myself from most male activities and consequently I wasn’t included in male friendships. I had a lonely childhood. It was easy to label me gay since I wasn’t like most boys. And homophobia was as prevalent in the 70s as pot. I began to question my masculinity. But not my sexuality. I knew I was straight; I worried I was less a man. Eventually I discovered the joy of companionship with the opposite sex and I’ve spent a huge chunk of my life enjoying the company of women. But I did miss male companionship. As I aged, I developed fruitful male friendships. But there remains a gap in every group. I have very limited knowledge and no talent of sports. So in many ways I can’t participate in the sport of masculine conversation.

Until I bicycled.

I love bicycles. I love the physical challenge and the achievement of the physical activity. And in a very real way – I felt more masculine. I felt more like a man.

So today when I saw the bicyclists, I wept.

I won’t bicycle anymore.

And then I saw my sin. My perspective is wrong. I shouldn’t lament something I can’t do. I should be grateful for something I did. And I silently bowed my head with gratitude for the moments of joy I experienced.

Yes. My foot is bleeding. But you know what? At this very moment I have 7 friendships that are direct descendants of my foot problems. I wouldn’t have met these men or formed these friendships without the trauma to my toes. Now I reject the whole Pollyanna bullshit as unrealistic and simpleminded so I’m not going to claim the friendships were worth the costs of my toes. But I am aware that life is a balance of scales.

I’ve had a great life. I have great friends. I’m grateful for the moments of joy I’ve experienced.

Love.

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I fell in love today.

I sat on an examining table and I fell in love.  She took my vitals and I fell in love with her.

I fall in love every day.

Woman.

Man.

It doesn’t matter.  It’s not sexual; it’s emotional.  It’s not biological; it’s spiritual.

I fall in love every day.

When someone shares his or her humanity with me, I fall in love.

And it’s not infatuation.  I’m no longer overwhelmed by the view.  I’m accustomed to seeing a soul. Yet the weight hasn’t lessened.  When someone shares a moment of humanity, I fall profoundly in love.

And I don’t fall in love with most people.  Most people aren’t willing to share the essence of their souls. Most people are guarded; most people are afraid; most people live closed.

I guard myself from being guarded; I fear that I’m afraid; I know I’m close to being closed.  But I take each risk.

Because when our moments of humanity and vulnerability are shared, I feel God. I feel gathered together.  I sense the synchronicity of His divinity and I fall in love.

I fall into the love of God.

And hope and love and communion are resurrected from their deaths.

I know that God has come again.

Enough

at_exam-roomToday I sat on the examining table at my podiatrist’s office as he debrided my foot. I realized that my foot has bled for a couple of days shy of 6 months. My heart doesn’t function well enough to send enough blood to my extremities to heal the wound. And as I prepared to leave his office, I occupied the examining room for too long because I didn’t have enough energy to pull on my socks and put on my shoes. As I struggled, I prayed I had enough control to prevent me from vomiting from weakness. As I walked down the hall to the elevator I worried I didn’t have enough energy to walk to my car. While on the first floor I walked so slowly and I felt so exhausted that I didn’t have enough strength to steady myself. A man was kind enough to offer to get me a wheelchair.

I spent the rest of the day worried about whether or not I had enough money to make the necessary arrangements for the end of my life. Now I’m not really a dramatic man; I’ve very pragmatic. I’m nearly 55 years old. I have a poorly functioning heart- with too many beats, an aortic aneurysm, and an ejection fraction of about 31%.  I know my heart isn’t strong enough to maintain itself with 3 different issues attacking it.  So. With the intention of kindness to my loves, I’ve arrived at the conclusion I haven’t done enough. I need to make final preparations. Just in case.

And I realized my perspective has changed since my diagnosis. I’ve written so much about the can’t and the couldn’t.

But today I realized I think about enough.

All the time.

Have I done enough?

Am I good enough?

Do I have enough faith to endure?

Do I have enough time to fulfill my familial obligations?

Do I have enough resources to maintain a sustainable standard of living?

Does my heart function enough to keep me alive?

Will the new medicine work well enough to avoid future procedures I can’t afford and they don’t perform at my healthcare organization?

Are there enough physicians in my state to perform the new procedure? My doctor thinks there are 2 in Minnesota who perform it.

Have I achieved enough to have a worthy legacy?

Have I been kind enough?

Have I offered enough contrition?

Will I ever get enough sleep?

Do I have enough money to bury myself? Do I have enough money for a coffin and a headstone and a plot? I’m smart enough to know that I don’t have enough time to procrastinate.

Do I have enough courage?

Does God know I’ve had enough?

I don’t know how much more I can take.

I need mercy.

Getting The Green Light

2016-04-02_034129873_2AD99_iOSOn April 1, 2016 I went with a group of friends to a play. Afterwards, I needed a drink. We went to a bar – Me & Julio and I turned to my friends and said, “Well, I can do that. I’m writing a play.” UNZIPPED burst into being. Within 6 weeks I held auditions. Within 5 months the first performance.

In the last 366 days, here’s what I’ve learned:

I’ve learned I could write a play – a controversial, intense, and consummate work.

I learned I could direct, cast, and produce myself.

I learned that edgy doesn’t really have anything to do with intensity. Edgy is all about creating an edge (a boundary) that defines the limits and the limited. Intensity is all about the courage of the corralled to approach. Intense is all about farthest.

I learned a few people will support you and even less will encourage you. It’s a red light/green light world. Most people will turn their backs and most people will send you back to the base if you get too close to the win. But some people love the edge. They love the rush of the approach and they crave the excitement of the risk of the fall.

In the coming year – I’ll have my play on a stage. I have a man who likes the edge and who thinks my play can move. He’s willing to put his cash on my edge. If my health holds, by autumn we’ll have a run.