Thursday, December 5, 2013

Finding the light in my darkness

After two months of, again, finding myself on the edge of threatened blindness, after achieving, in recent days, a modicum of progress, I wanted nothing more than to stow myself away, alone, over Thanksgiving, out here in the mountains and write.

As most writers appreciate, when one is cut off from writing, it can feel akin to separating from one’s soul. This is, truly, how it is for me. So solitude, combining with the ambiance of the natural settings surrounding me, out here in the mountains, was what I was craving; turkey and the trimmings could wait for another time. Then the eve of Thanksgiving approached, ushering in, too, the Jewish festival of lights, Chanukah, to bring in that day. Settling myself into my holiday plan of relaxation and writing, I, thus, awaited my next inspiration, gratefully, all alone, readying myself, as it were, to write and, quietly, revel in the once-in-a lifetime union of these two celebrations.

But -- just as my holiday plan was being launched, another eye crisis surfaced. Carefully observant, by now, of the nuances and subtleties of what I can and cannot see out of this troubled right eye of mine, I systematically watched and waited. Then watched and waited again.

There was no one, but me, within assistance distance by this time. And, only the specialized care at Johns Hopkins, a good distance away, could treat my complex eye disturbance, I was certain.  What to do? What to do?

Thinking to contact the on-call Emergency Room ophthalmologist, certain my own cornea specialist would, without doubt, want me to do this, at least, I made that call, only, simultaneously, to reassure and frustrate both the doctor and myself. Reality was that I was stuck on a turbulent sea of threatened blindness, the water around me, swelling, as if I were in a rowboat on stormy waters, without even an oar, the on-call doctor, my life guard, unable to reach me. With one, stop-gap, potential antidote; returning to a prescription I had just come off, supported by the on-call doctor, again, I set my mind to calm and relax. There were no further hoped for advances for this twenty-four hour span.

My threatened eye's recovery was, now, in the hands of fate. By this time, it was sundown; time for Chanukah and the eve of Thanksgiving. For the next little while, I determined, I would allow myself to float on waves of gratitude and celebration, sink or swim; marking what I did have at hand rather than not. Maybe, like the Maccabees whose saving of the Temple in Jerusalem is marked by the Chanukah commemoration, I, too, might have enough light to make it through a pending threat.

Setting concern aside, I lighted my menorah, sought and found numerous YouTube versions of Adam Sandler’s “Eight Crazy Nights” and various renditions of the “Dreidel Song” I grew up with; the Disney cartoon version, my favorite, and turned my heart and mind to celebration.

Guess what happened next? Adam Sandler and his song made me cry with delight, reminding me that I am one hundred percent joyful that I have, now, become the former Anti-Semitic, recovering Jewish American Princess, without separation, a member of the tribe of Jews just like me who are American too.

Thanksgiving arriving on the first day of Chanukah brought me to rejoice. Like the Maccabees, I had just enough light to make it, in my case, through to the Monday after Thanksgiving, when I finally did get to Johns Hopkins, still on the edge of threatened blindness in my right eye, yet, having, once more, found light inside of darkness.

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