I learned the other day that my immune system is gone. She just up and left. No goodbye, no Dear Jerry letter, no flowers, not even an email to let me know; hoping I wouldn’t notice why systemic failure grows more prominent.
My doctor told me about this sly exodus. She is this vibrant buxom Russian immigrant with long wavy auburn hair, and the sturdy solid nature of totalitarian atheistic culture, and the bedside manner of Attila the Hun. Still, she tries her best to break dark news, reaching for anything she might recall to work with human feelings, other than pain and suffering. Pain she understands, and believes we should all be much more tolerant of our petty, relentless, agonizing Teachers, like not being able to bear weight on my left foot, for example. Her best medical advice was stay off your foot. Teach my kids how to feed and care for each other. Take a nap.
Anyway, she breezes into the examining room where I am sitting, mostly clothed, perched on the edge of the exam table with naked feet anxiously touching the pull-out steel footrest. Waving my not very thick file in her dominant left hand, before the door slams shut behind her, she asks me if I know that I am Positive.
Her radiant smile did not seem to be begging me to tell her I already knew so she was not in the position of actually having to think about how to be kind.
I didn’t know what was the right best answer:
Yes, thank you, and I’ve always found you to be a positive person too?…
No, in fact I hope my husband of the last twenty years will be surprised to hear this as well….
Well, I have been getting sick a lot lately, coming down with weird stuff normal people don’t usually have a problem with, like breaking out in hives in my armpits, so it does cross my mind, now that you so generously mention it, that maybe my immunity guards have departed without giving notice, or even closing the door of vulnerability on their way out….
But, instead, I just say No, quietly, in awe of this strangely-shared boundary moment.
So she hesitantly touches my forearm, and valiantly tries to continue smiling, to reassure me that it will be OK, not a death sentence, her extractive words.
Well, that was good to know, especially because I hadn’t even realized I was waiting for sentencing. I wasn’t even aware of my charges or my trial, my judge, or my apparently merciful jury.
But, I had been feeling vulnerable, and learning I am vulnerable to all the cooties and disease and suffering and pain in this world, on this Earth, within this EarthTribe, leaves me feeling mushy and rotten, old and used up, or at least overripe for decay, inside, then outside.
Wide open to whatever comes along, available, accessible, for good and bad.
An open vortex for anyone or anything to use as even my own defenses have evaporated, not like a sunset over the ocean, when that last radiant arcing flash says goodbye until tomorrow. Rather, the loss of immunity, the ache of endlessly inclusive vulnerability, uncovers a quietly creeping dawn, except instead of Earth gradually emerging until I must open glad eyes to discover Her visible presence once again, one more time, this time, her sobbing and singing, dancing, lavishly beautiful Time, my Interior Landscaped self-consciousness gradually purges to uncertain self-identity, and less concern about where you begin and where I end, because my ending is already predicted by lack of self-defense.
A well-fired strength lurks within this deep ecology of grateful emptiness. Creating a winterish listening place for all nutrients and toxins around and within me, a place, a jump in, the water’s warm recreating safe-space where each can be heard, embraced, have a say about our future together. How long we may or may not sustain our interdependent web of life.
Without capacity, perhaps even the desire, to exclude often dissonant nutrients and voices, tastes and smells, feelings and awareness, difficult and insane immigrants, I invest this sacred listening mountain in regenerating new connections, new ways of seeing appositional, dialectical rationality, rather than oppositional polarity.
I learn to long for ways we might survive together that would be in your best interest as my self-interest dissipates into a dark vortex of Yin openness. If our shared values for diversely nutritional compost disappear, then I have no hope to grow my own.
Finding harmony within this apparent dissonance and disease and suffering and insanity is the only vocation left to this EarthTribe Identity, softly individuating within Earth’s resilient resonance, my boundaries of immunity to you removed. All remaining for me is my subsidiarity to Earth’s well-being, for here we all return, generative memory seeds of language and code, capturing voices stringing songs back, back to stardust Elders.
We are Earth’s Tribe dying to remember to fly together like the stars from which we emerged, the Earth which we reincarnate; and trying to not fly apart quite so awfully much.