chapter 42: taking a step of faith

on february 11th, around 4:00 a.m., i returned home from my Arizona excursion.  the next day, i went to work on about 4 hours’ sleep.  days passed as i did nothing to further my medical exploration of the lesion beneath my brain.  after two weeks of enjoying my inaction, i called Phoenix.  the first two tries were a no-go:  the scheduling girl wasn’t available.  but the third time was indeed the charm; i stood in the elevator of my apartment building, as i uttered the life-altering words.  from my mouth to Michelle’s ears.  383 miles away.

“i’d like to schedule my brain surgery.”

this was a moment and a feeling i would never forget.  i was voluntarily asking someone to stick a knife into the middle of my brain.  it might blind me.  or paralyze me.  or kill me.  it might kill me.  but this was the difficult thing:  it also may save my life.  my decision, my choice, was my best attempt at winning a shell game, where the pea was the breath in my lungs, the light in my eyes, the most precious thing i would ever possess.  and if it turned up elsewhere, other than beneath my chosen wager, i would be forever changed by that loss, forever losing.

the date was set for march 29th.

until then, i would consider my life.  my past.  my good times and bad.  in the quantification of our time here–our words, our risks, our ambitions–our triumphs comprise the numerator.  our failures–or at least, our attempts–designate the denominator.  and the resulting fraction is the score of our lives.  if we’re keeping score.  but in the scope of lingering eternity, in the context of experience and legacy, viewing our choices and the choices of others, against their effects on the world and ourselves, i began to ponder my existence without a scorecard.  i considered the wins and losses as one, my life being innumerable and intangibly infinite.  i am defined by the depth of my decisions, and the forced perspective of their outcomes.  but there is no failure i can determine.  and yet no prize i believe i deserve.  my life is a gift; and i am grateful.  whether it ends now, or a forever away.  i will enjoy the moments.  and there have already been many.

i had no way of knowing that my surgery on the 29th would be postponed; and so as i waited, and prepared, i reflected…

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