Monday, June 20, 2005

Cellular gratitude

Sue over at Inner Dorothy writes about her husband's MS (which is multiple sclorosis, which is not the same as muscular dystrophy, which is what Jeff has. But the effect on a family is not, I think, dissimilar.) Anyway, she writes:

There is a wierd ritual-loving part of me that wants to tell P's struggling cells that it's not their fault, that they've done well and worked hard ("Well done, good and faithful servants"). There's a part of me that wants to thank them for hanging in there over the years and allowing him the quality of life that he still has. I want to tell every cell in his body that they are, and always will be, loved regardless of their level of ability.

There is so much sweetness here, and so much generosity. It makes me feel ashamed of my sometimes-impatience with Jeff, with what is slow, with what doesn't work, with what needs fixing. It made me wonder what it would be like if every morning, I thanked God for Jeff's cells, for "hanging in there and allowing the quality of life he still has" instead of constantly what-if-ing.

So having read this post, and thinking all these grandiose thoughts, I went to pick up the book that was waiting for me at the library, that a pal of mine has been urging me to read, If we're so in love, why aren't we happy? by Susan Page (Ugh, a terrible example of what happens when too many marketing people name a book. And believe me, from working in publishing for a while, I can tell you that the name that everyone agrees on is hardly ever the best one.) Anyway, 20 pages into this book, I can tell you that it's about the very thing that Sue was writing about - gratitude at a cellular level.

Page's thing is that we talk about fixing marriages the way we talk about business transactions - it's all about communicating, negotiating and fairness. When in reality, she says, the purpose of marriage is to learn to love and to be loved, and when you act out of love, instead of trying to figure each other out (and change each other!) all the time, your marriage will actually just get better, deeper, realer. She talks about being married itself as a spiritual practice and she offers some tips on how to do this.

In the meantime, I'm practicing cellular gratitude. Starting right now. Yes, now.

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