This is not exactly
a caregiver story.
But it’s worth telling anyway,
for several reasons.
My wife Bernie and I
were sitting on the back porch
evening before last,
enjoying the fading day.
In a quiet voice she said to me,
“Right now I am relishing hearing
the cicada sounds around us.
I’m loving this gentle breeze,
this perfect temperature,
this evening light.
I’m loving being here with you.”
I was touched by her sentiments.
I told her I felt similar lovings.
We sat in silence for a few moments.
Then I said, about as softly,
“It’s within reason, you know,
that our mood could have been
quite different this evening,
and right now I’m aware of that too.”
Bernie has had a few troubling symptoms—
symptoms that cannot help but remind us
of her experience with cancer sixteen years ago.
We’ve both been worried, each of us more
than we wanted the other to know.
An appointment with a specialist four days ago, however,
eased our fears considerably.
More tests are upcoming, but the doctor says
the likelihood of this being cancer is very low.
What I meant to say in that evening air,
without saying the exact words, was
“We could have been sitting here
facing some scary times—
times like we’ve known before.”
That’s what Bernie also heard,
without hearing the exact words.
After another moment of quietness,
Bernie looked at me and said,
“Even if that’s what we were facing this evening,
we would still have these cicada sounds.
We would still have this wonderful breeze,
this lovely light,
this perfect evening.
We would still have each other.”

Bernie’s truth is also ultimate truth.
Whatever is happening right now—
to any of us, to all of us—
we still have quiet graces
that are around us somewhere.
We still have moments that can bring us peace
and glimpses that can give us joy.
We still have someone we love
and someone who loves us.
We still have these gifted seconds, minutes, hours—
right here, right now—
that cannot be taken from us.
Yes, blessings abound.

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