Back to the spiritual experience. The glimpses Nora provides of her spiritual experience call to me because of my failed attempts (here and elsewhere) to wrap words around a similar change in a specific, defined, spiritual practice. (Nora's was clear, I think. Mine, not so much.) Instead, I continue to struggle to find words to describe the changes taking place in me. I'd really rather take an easier way out, claim "there are no words for this" even if it's true that some things are too deep for words, and that's all there is to it. But if I can't use words to at least point to that thing and say that thing, or draw a circle around the topic and point to whatever somewhere around the middle and say there... that! ..then how do I share what seems so important to pass on?
On Wednesday evenings for the past 10 years or so Ginny and I have met with a small group of people to practice lectio divina, an ancient form of meditation. I need silence. Really. I need silence. This gathering is a simple method to get me to be silent because I don't have the discipline to do it on my own. This group practice has become my only church right now. And that is significant because traditional church had been a significant part of my life up until a few years ago.
I'm aware that my spiritual and cancer experiences are woven together so tightly that I can no longer separate them. And this seems only right. Without having cancer stop me in my tracks, I doubt that I would have (on my own) stopped long enough to notice that I needed to stop and notice. And without having some sensitivity to the spiritual side, I don't know if I would have noticed the changes that cancer brought to that. Or, rather, what the treatment protocols did to that. Taking away testosterone for a year did things to my thinking and emotions and strength - everything - because, as many of my women friends laughingly told me, hormones affect everything.
And now, back on the male side of the fence I think "So what? Is that even significant?" It is, obviously, or I wouldn't be writing about it. But like my mother's slow, agonizingly beautiful slide into death prompted questions about things I'd never questioned before, the testosterone depredation and return did the same thing. And I'm still struggling to frame it with words.
Nora's adept expression has put words around some similar questions. My hat's off to her.