For as long as I can remember, song lyrics have popped into my head at the strangest times - a chance remark, a memory, someone's story, or even for no apparent reason. I'm used to it. Have come to just let it be when it happens, and trust that if there is a meaning or reason for its appearance, eventually I will make the connection.
Given both the current political climate and our personal challenges, it hasn't surprised me, therefore, that "Look for the Silver Lining" would be echoing in my head for days now. "Look for the Silver Lining", for folks who haven't heard of the song, was introduced to the world in 1920, made popular by Judy Garland in 1945 and revisited most recently by Tony Bennett in 2015. And though many people may not know the tune or lyrics (which I include later in this post), the exhortation to "look for the silver lining" has become a common phrase used to support people through trying times.
So, I've taken time to look for the silver lining in John's illness. Clearly, we would much prefer not to be fighting cancer yet one more time, not to be facing something currently incurable, hoping that a breakthrough will occur, will be offered the next time we see the doctor. We would much prefer that John have the energy and stamina he used to have. We would prefer he not need regular blood transfusions and chemo. But having said that, there are other very real, very special side effects that we might never experience without this challenge, and that's the silver lining.
Of course, there is the obvious - we are more present in the moment, more conscious of how we speak to each other, how we spend our time, the choices we are making and need to make. As we have been through other crises, yet seem to forget once the crisis is past. We are also more affectionate, more intimate. More so than we have ever been. With little gestures, and at odd little moments. More appreciative of the life we have had together, the homes, the friends, the memories. We enjoy the little things, the simplest things, like laughing at Paul Harvey's antics on Family Feud, or deciding which judge a contestant should choose on The Voice, and are conscious, in the moment, of our enjoyment. Then there are the everyday things too easily taken for granted, like the desert sunset or a glass of B and B after supper, the call or e-mail asking how we are doing, the thoughtfulness of the service people who have taken up the slack for us, a favor we do for each other without being asked.
I'm sure there are others who have learned to live their lives this way without incurring a disease or experiencing a disaster. I'd like to think we might have evolved this level of consciousness and appreciation over time, but I'm not sure that we might just as well drifted along, most days only semi-conscious. I also am aware that some people never see the silver lining, never look. For us, this is the paradox, the contradiction, the both/and. We are fighting for John's life and we are blessed.
Look for the Silver Lining
Look for the silver lining
Whenever a cloud appears in the blue
Remember somewhere the sun is shining
And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you
A heart full of joy and gladness
Will always banish sadness and strife
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life