Dear God, It’s hard to believe this is the first official letter I have ever written to you. I’m sorry it took me so long to pen one until now, it’s just that I’ve been a little busy. No excuse, I know, and don’t worry, my mother didn’t put me up to it. I figured you were pretty busy anyway being God, and reading all your other fan mail. It’s the one year anniversary of my liver transplant on September 26th, so it seemed like a fitting time to write. After all, I have written to everyone else in my life as a sign of gratitude and respect, why not you? While I have revered you, thanked you, bowed down to you on multiple occasions and in your many forms, writing an open letter is a little different.
In any event , this is how I’ve chosen to express myself on this most auspicious, wonderful, blessed day of my life. You see, until the time I was diagnosed with my potentially life-terminating disease, I thought a lot of things in life weren’t fair. I thought there was a lot of injustice, and I had tremendous anger and sadness about that. It wasn’t all about me, either. On most days I just looked around me and chose to see the shadow side of the truth. The truth is, God, it’s pretty much like You’ve told me, out there. Life is dirty, and you’re either a spectator, isolated on the sidelines, keeping clean, but alone, or you gotta roll your sleeves up and jump into the shit (Your words, not mine). My disease became my shit pit, to do with what I chose.
The process of being told I was ill, then believing it, then becoming my illness, and eventually overcoming it has been the most transformational, heart-breaking and faith-making experience I’ve ever been through. I guess you knew it was exactly the kind of long-term assignment someone stubborn as myself would need to agree to jumping into the poop of life; to truly see the beauty, the play along with the sadness–to have faith in You.
I want to thank you for giving me this gift. The new organ is fabulous, but what I really mean is the gift of living with an illness, observing my physical demise, and the body’s miraculous ability to renew itself. It has given me a lifetime of reflection and perspective, an understanding about love, and a new respect for the temporality of all living creatures. This day and the scar I’ve been blessed with represent a potent reminder of the grace, as well as the terror of life; the delight and sadness, the abundance, the vibrancy, the loss, limitation and potential. It is reminder that life is something we are all a part of, and choosing to deny ourselves of the interdependence, to not roll our sleeves up and dive into the proverbial mud, is not only not sustainable as individuals or as a collective whole, it is suicide.
As difficult as moments in this year have been, I’m genuine in telling You that the darkest moments have been just as valuable as the most joyful. The reflection of both have been cast onto a mirror of vigilant awareness. While I’m continuing to learn and grow from the old experiences, new and unexpected experiences are bestowed on me each day. To be honest, even the distant past still seems fresh. My life appears jumbled as I seek chronology and definition to fading memories. I suppose when one teeters on the edge of death, the boundaries of time become blurred; time is, after all, a mere figment of our imagination. Without it, we are free! When time returns to frame our daily experience, I suppose the mind’s relationship with time itself can change.
The biggest lesson you have given me this year is the enormity of my own contribution in the life I lead. At my darkest moments, I can now identify the role I have played in making it so. Normally, it’s due to my own expectations of self and other, my insecurities; my inability to truly be present and patient in each moment. Even in times of discomfort, pain, and physical limitation, when my focus was to do the best I could to see the positive, to do the best I could for others and then for myself, those times were not as difficult as other times when seemingly nothing was awry except my fixation on a negative mindset towards something rather mundane.
The moments when I have surrendered, when I have given in to your Grace, whatever the circumstances may have been, are the moments that have been the sweetest. In these moments, I have been able to drop my own selfish needs and see you in everything. That’s when I have truly served some greater good, by connecting to something so much more than my individual limitation; by connecting to You.
Well God, I sure feel blessed and humbled and amazed at this whole process of life in a physical body with a limitless soul. I guess you know how easy it is for us embodied souls to get caught up in all the silly, day-to-day stuff. I am in the process of integration: integrating the mundane things with the bigger, Divine Plan, melding the past with the present, being of service while serving others. I can assure you, it will keep me happily busy for a while. You told me once that if you want someone to stay in your life, ask them. God, I love you. Please stay in my life*.
Loving Blessings of Gratitude to You* in all your many textured and colorful,( and less colorful) forms,
Your faithful, humble servant, Lizzie
*That means you. Yes, YOU!
My Year In Pictures:
Oct, 2 2013 One week after transplant. In critical condition.
Oct 2, 2013. My 200+ abdominal staples. What you don’t see is the many more layers of stitching under the skin.
Oct 10, 2013 My first received mail at the hospital.
November, 2013 Stir Crazy, but unready to leave hospital due to a virus in the blood.
December, 2013. Christmas Eve. Time to Celebrate.
August, 2014. Joy-filled to be at home after two years of waiting.