Traveling down the Missouri river in a canoe I gained respect for the power of water. It wasn’t the dam we traversed that taught the respect. That struck the fear in us. We had the respect before that. We saw the way it shaped the bank. How it moved soil from the cut banks, took the soil downstream and deposited the sand and rocks on the point bars. How it over time completely changed its course regardless of what was in its way.
One day we looked up at trees on the banks and saw the year’s high water mark about 6′ up on the trees, about 13′ above the water we were paddling. We tried to imagine the massive volume of water that spanned over 1 mile wide, 13′ deeper than it was, and hundreds of miles long. The high water mark showed remnants of power. Sometimes 20″ diameter logs were wedged 6-8′ up in the crotch of another tree. Whole trees were uprooted and left to waste along with hundreds of others.
How easily we forget. I asked Tara if she thought much about cancer today. She said, “Until I looked in the mirror this afternoon, I didn’t.” But just yesterday her comment was quite different. “I have a month to get all this stuff done.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “I have a month until the scan and then who knows after that.”
So cancer is not quite off of our minds. Actually, far from it. I hope we always think about it. It changed us. Shaped us. Taught us more about who we are. It was the high water mark in our lives. We look at it and see remnants of power. Uprooted dreams. Lives that changed course regardless of what was in the way at the time.
We are so grateful for cancer and what it has done for us. It deposited a new layer of fertile silt on us where new seeds can grow. As we re-engage, may the high water mark never fade.