In this image, Lucy’s damage is plainly visible. But in spite of the damage she’s suffered, she is still unmistakably Lucy.
I like this image of Lucy because it symbolizes the fact that people can suffer great damage and still retain the essence of who they are.
This idea used to be important to me because for years I felt damaged on the inside and was absolutely certain it was visible from the outside. It’s important to me now because, while I no longer feel damaged on the inside, I am visibly damaged on the outside. And I am still unmistakably me.
My physical damage—the scars that extend across what used to be my breasts—are road maps that indicate where the cancer lay beneath my skin. Sometimes they piss me off. Sometimes they make me sad. In more lucid moments, they make me grateful and happy beyond expression. I now look different. I now feel different. I now am different. But I am not less; I am more. I am more me. With everything that was taken away from me--my breasts, my youth, my vanity, my peace of mind--I have gained strange and beautiful blessings.
When I was a kid, I would put records on my little turntable and change the outfits on my Barbie. "If you are really there God," I would challenge, "you'll make my Barbie talk." Then I would hold my Barbie at arms' length and stare at her, unblinking, while Badfinger played on my record player. Of course, nothing ever happened in those four minutes. (Although, I can probably attribute my 20/300 vision to the Barbie tests). Forty years later, God still hasn't proven His presence to me. And He didn't protect me from breast cancer. But I now believe He is there, in some form. The series of events that began two months before my diagnosis and that still continue make it difficult for me to believe that they were simply random.
When my son was in elementary school, he and his buddies would take the camcorder and record the Legos on the carpet, the dog sleeping in the sun, the grass growing. They called their films "Random Shit Productions." I thought it was brilliant, their videos about nothing. I now look at the random shit in my life as brilliant. It's all coming together in such a lovely way.
(And I'd love to write about it, but I'll have to continue this weekend. I just started a new job today, so my posts will be infrequent and brief. Be patient with me...)