I have always been an optimist. My baseball team was down in the ninth? Well, we could rally! Didn’t land that job? A better one was surely around the corner. People were unjust? Other people would stand up and fight for justice. The future would always be better.
Lately though, after the past two years, I’ve struggled to keep that optimism. In the past, seeing something like the school planner below would merely elicit a bit of an eye raise at the double negative and whether it was appropriately used for great effect here.
Today — my “mental health” self care day urged on me by my oncologist — today, that was not my reaction when I saw this book at a Barnes and Noble.
Today I looked at that and thought, “Yup, a healthy loved one could suddenly die. You could get a call that your six month scan wasn’t nearly as clear and great as they had said and you need to take more time off work and get another scan. You could learn at a friend’s ordination that your cancer, the kind that’s really rare in young women your age, is back. You could be ignored by a surgical scheduler. You could learn that your dad’s vintage spy novels were accidentally given away. You could get a text that your grandpa is in the hospital needing surgery. You could get two different dates for surgery, requiring moving people and switching plans. You could, after setting everything up and handing off your projects at your day job, get a confusing call that, due to some gorram meeting, your surgery is now (maybe) moved back two days. They’re still not sure.”
What else might happen today? Remember there’s nothing that cannot happen today.
A person could give up today. She could stop trying to find and walk the correct path. She could just give in and give up.
Except, one thing cannot happen today.
I cannot give up today. I might have to sit on the floor of a friend’s shop and cry. And by might, I mean I did. But somehow I’ll go home. I’ll call my doctors yet again. I’ll try to swing at the next damn curve ball. And I will not give up.
Giving up is something that cannot happen today.