Sunday, August 21, 2005

Up All Night

It’s 3:00 a.m. Saturday and I’m straddling the top rung of a dew-soaked log fence, massaging my calves, where the muscles are twitching and strained. Morgan is holding her side, Mom her hip, and we have five hours to go. The full moon winks in the ripples of the Ham’s Fork River and picks out the shapes of the willows and sage. Luminaries line the wide asphalt path we’ve been walking, white paper bags with candles inside, each bearing the name of a local cancer survivor or victim. Mom’s name is on one bag, and as we three walk the night, I try to recall how I felt almost fifteen years ago, when it entered our quiet little world. I’m sure we were scared, and felt the horror the families of all people who are diagnosed with a cancer feel, but I was ten, and naïve enough to assume that Mom was invincible. However, her cancer cells were discovered in the biopsy after her hysterectomy, and the radiation was more a precaution, I think. At any rate she did survive, and I forget most of the time that there was ever such an enemy in her life, until times like the ACS Relay for Life.

There have been others in my family who were not so lucky. Dad’s mother died of colon cancer, his father of a brain tumor. Mom’s maternal grandmother had a tumor on her neck the size of a football, which grew inward and paralyzed her after it was removed, eventually killing her. And yet, I don’t expect to get cancer. Or I expect events like Friday’s to finance the discovery of a cure by the time I might suffer it. I am eternally optimistic. You can’t live in fear. Mom wore the purple t-shirt of a survivor this weekend, and I also have her genes, her wonderful hearty DNA. But more than that, I have her outlook, and I believe the human mind can do incredible things.

Speaking of the human mind, I was reading about the debate regarding the teaching of “intelligent design” in schools, in addition to evolution. I am an evolutionist, but there is no reason in my mind that I can’t also believe that God’s hand directed evolution. If you want to talk about how He created everything in six days, well… who knows how long a day is to Him? A billion years? A hundred billion? I did not descend from monkeys. But I may have descended from the same basic material that they did. “Intelligent design” may be possible with an all-powerful God, but I can't help wondering how He could have instantly designed the human eye to be so flawlessly functional without some serious tweaking? And why is the idea of evolution so frightening to people? I think it’s great that we’re a foot taller than people were a century ago. I think it’s fantastic that we have neoprene boxing gloves and ultraviolet disinfection and low-carbohydrate diets, space shuttles (however decrepit), Rollerblades, and PS2. Isn’t that evolution? How can people point to the classic depictions of Adam and Eve and talk about clay and ribs, when there’s freeze-dried Neanderthals popping up all over the place? I am Christian. But I am not afraid to wonder how He made it all happen. I’m curious that way. And I believe that faith and science will muddle through somehow, and wind up reconciled before it doesn’t matter anymore.

I am also a person who thinks Shakespeare is best when performed in a park.

I accidentally found the ultimate boots today at Sawaya’s, brown suede Skechers knee-high boots with a slim four-inch stacked heel and square toe and a zipper on the inside, all the way down to the sole. It isn’t easy finding boots that fit around my curvy calves, so when I do, I like to take advantage. I don’t know if I’ve been a good enough girl to buy myself a $70 pair of boots I can’t wear to the plant, but I’m working on justifying the purchase anyhow, as it’s my birthday Tuesday. And as for money, you can’t take it with you.


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