Sight for Sore Eyes

A late spring Saturday night – 6 couples get together for a dinner party in one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever laid eyes on.

My beloved friend, who’s lived and beaten the odds against Stage 4 lung cancer for 2 years and 4 months is there.  She’s now an honorary guest at our cooking group’s dinners and may I say, tonight, she’s a sight for sore eyes!

She’s had her hair done for the evening, and her makeup is flawless. Wearing an airy, blue & white patterned blouse, a white sweater, and white jeans, she’s standing in the hosts’ newly constructed dream kitchen. Guests are touring through the home, and rightfully so, raving about the design and decor.

I’ve taken the tour, so I hunt for the kitchen trash can where I may toss my empty beer bottle while no one’s watching. Discreetly peering behind each cabinet front, I finally find the trash bin and also discover the cabinetry conceals the refrigerators, warmer drawers, freezers, and dishwashers.

Every possible eyesore is disguised.

Guests are milling in the kitchen, choosing their beverages and preparing the food they’ve brought for dinner.

Guests are swapping stories – how are the kids? how’s your work week? what part of dinner did you bring? and even a, who’s new BMW is out on the drive?  

She’s standing on the sidelines in silence.

When she talks, she coughs.

As the drinks flow and the volume rises in the kitchen, the food celebration begins – oysters on the half shell, beef filet on the rotisserie BBQ grill, stuffed portobello mushrooms, spinach salad and caramel-chocolate souffle. A feast fit for royalty prepared in a kitchen fit for a king.

I am watching her.

She’s watching the activity, the conversations.

She’s trying not to cough, stifling it, but she can’t control its persistence. She’s quietly putting a Kleenex up to her mouth and then silently slipping into the back room off the kitchen.

Her Kleenex conceals blood-tinged mucus.

Coughing up blood is the lung cancer’s newest symptom,

and it ain’t pretty.

In fact, it’s downright ugly and upsetting but

brings this thought to light –

All that is downright beautiful is also housing the downright ugly.

People struggle.

We often don’t know others’ struggles – some struggles are more apparent than others, but nothing is perfect, nothing is seamless. We shouldn’t be ashamed or scared of the ugly – for it’s through our struggling, we expose the truth.

We, as humans, often search for the ugly – others’ faults, shortcomings, and secrets but wouldn’t we be more constructive if instead, we all, as a community, opted to share and to celebrate our struggles, so we wouldn’t have to hide?

Instead of looking for the eyesores, we looked at the Sights for Sore Eyes to reveal where strength, courage, perseverance, hope and joy live –

Struggles teach us invaluable lessons –

Genuine moments, like this dinner party, where I see a beauty with undeniable strength enter and leave the room.

That ugly cough doesn’t have her. She’s got it.  She deals with reality but keeps moving, continuing to manage and to celebrate.

Her struggle is real, yet has a purpose.  I tell her story because I’ve been given the gift to watch her, in all her strength and glory, carry on. I am so grateful for her. She’s a

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“Sight For Sore Eyes!”

Half-Staff

When the sun and the Stars and Stripes align,

Light miraculously lifts the somberness of a flag at

half-staff .

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Half-Staff

I took this image of our flag at half-staff with my iPhone at a car dealership on a busy Phoenix street.  A car salesman approached me as I kneeled down to take the photo in the overhead, bright noonday light.  After proudly disclosing he is a photographer, the car salesman recommended I return at sunset, since the setting sunlight looks so good on the flag. I thanked him for allowing me on his dealership’s lot, while clicking the button on my phone’s screen. He continued with his instructions, advising the best angle to shoot the shot, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s telling “half [his] staff” about the female on the car lot taking a photo in the worst light imaginable.

When we’re led by Light, we’re usually blinded by it,  believing certain Light only happens once, so we’ve only got one shot – and it’s our own.

 

Love Bears All Things

 

Out into the big world you go again

to a place where you or I have never been.

Leave your possessions behind and go!

with your ultimate treasure –

in your crib at birth, in your arms as a toddler, and in safe keeping every day since 1993

He’s always with you, along for the ride,

reminding you,

love bears all things.

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“Guy” at the end of the world, Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego, 2015