Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Angels by my side.

Another hospital adventure this morning with Merche’s husband Javi.
The appointment  is  for 9.30.  We leave Orgiva at 8am. We both yawn a lot as we approach Granada.  The snow-capped Sierras are magnificent.  My heart always soars at the sight of these mountains.  It’s a bit chilly though.  I wearing 4 layers, just in case.

Javi drops me outside the clinic and disappears to find a free parking place.  I sit in the entrance area, and de repente- love this phrase ( suddenly and without warning)- a very extraordinary thing happens.  I’m visited by an angel. 

Yes.  Honestly.  A large, plump, middle aged  angel clutching a pile of official hospital notebooks.  Not  files.  Notebooks.

'What a lovely smile you have,' she says to me.  'Where are you from?'
I laugh.  She  laughs.
' Ireland,' I say. 

Ah Ireland!’ she sighs.  I don’t remember what she said  for the next 5 minutes because I got caught in a beam of pure loveliness.

All the time she was befriending me she kept catching sight of somebody else she knew. She would beam a greeting, blow a kiss, and when the handsome but terribly sad musician with paralysed legs passed by in  his motorised wheel chair.. she called his name, and he stopped in his tracks.  They exchanged a smile that brought tears to my eyes, then he  whizzed off, still smiling into the busy Granada street, alone, but recharged.

'Ah here’s my boss,' said the angel backing away from me. The  petite  lady wearing brown trousers and a warm jersey  was heading for the admin office.  Hello, she mimed, grinning at both of us. The angel immediately, respectfully followed her.

Javi appears.  I want to tell him I’ve just met an extraordinary person whose mission in life seems to be to make  people feel happy to be entering, or leaving this clinic.  But I don't. Not sure why.

'I’ve worked here since  7.7. 77,' she'd told me. 
‘Oh 7.7 is my birthday!’ I'd replied.
‘Really ?  Mine’s the 5th of July.’ she'd said.
‘So we’re  twin souls,’ she added. 
 Not quite, but who knows ?

The appointment goes well.  The lady  doc is charming.  There are 3 options she says.   A pill a day, a   single blast of radiation, or surgery.  We’ll  go with the first she decided.  Javi and I agree.  Your thyroid problem is very old she adds. Ok I say, so long  as it’s not….of course it’s not !!

Javi and I walk to where he’s parked his car.  It’s now getting hot in Granada. If you’re not in a hurry he says… I could visit a friend… something about a slip of paper.

We then go off on a wild goose chase in a suburb  called Ogijares.   A WONDERFUL  back street adventure commences.  We nip in and out of a myriad of  one way streets. Fabulous hanging gardens  spill over tall white walls. How on earth does Javi know his way. I’m disorientated instantly.

Javi’s friend is out. Never mind, it’s breakfast time so I suggest we head for the same cafĂ© we went to last time. My treat.

The waiters are wearing white tee-shirts this time, not black.

Javi gravitates to a table infront of the nosiy TV.   He yawns a lot.  I feel tired too. I catch his yawns. I order melted cheese on toast, he chooses tomato on toast.  He has real coffee, I chose decaf. We eat in silence.

The lady doc wasn’t impressed when I told her I was taking a herbal remedy for the thyroid  problem.  Even though the analysis was much better than the last time, she would have nothing of herbs.. not a good idea she said.

I want to end this mornings adventure by buying goats yogurt. Since the last chemo I haven’t felt much like cooking. Smoothies and juices go  down very easily though.

I ask the parking angels to  find me a space right beside the indoor market.  They oblige, of course !

I return to my safe nest with yogurt, raspberries, avocados, and  bananas, all organic. Yum.

My heart is still deeply astonished by the meeting with the hospital angel. It’s a bit like  Rilke’s ‘quirky God’ decided to give me a lovely surprise. I didn’t know I was feeling so nervous.  But somehow she did.

Why else did she single me out ?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

For Rilke, God was ‘quirky.’

The following are  messages posted to my Facebook friends last week, additions and after thoughts will follow in the next blog.

4 days of poetry in the Lecrin Valley, 7th - 11th April,  surrounded by orange and lemon trees. Will I be able to stay the pace ?


 The landscape  was cloaked in mist most of the time I was there.  Another metaphor for not really being clear why I had come.  Why was I so irresistibly drawn there?   I couldn’t answer that questions, but  Rainer Maria Rilke could !

 ‘Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.’

Our teacher,  American Mark Burrows, is a professor and a scholar of medieval Christianity with a particular interest in mysticism and poetry. Of course he is much more than any of these labels.

He is a wonderful holy mixture of extraordinary intuition , huge intelligence, incredible teaching/people skills- the absolute opposite of my ex- oncologist- and a person who delved deep to help each one of us find our personal sacred meaning in every metaphor he paused us to consider.

Rilke’s poetry is astonishing.  It’s full of extraordinary metaphors that take us on journeys into the subconscious world of forgotten dreams, yearnings , heartbreaks, always (?) with a direct link to the
God of his understanding.  For Rilke, God  was a God of New Beginnings, a ‘Quirky God.’

How I love this metaphor.

The poetry retreat ended this afternoon. For 5 days I felt led into a new land… a brief visit into to the extraordinary inner world of Rilke.

                                                                 I want to go back !