By Rebecca Zook
In the past, I would have been sad or frustrated that I couldn't hear a good third of the dialog, but instead I found myself enjoying the play immensely. It helped that Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” was familiar to me. I found myself concentrating on the actors’ body movements and facial expressions. The “choreography,” you might say. My lack of hearing enabled me to see the play on another level that probably wouldn't have been quite so conscious otherwise.
I was enjoying the company as well. My husband and I haven’t spent enough time dating lately. I’ve been consumed with solo show preparation, painting in general, and a particularly bad autoimmune flare. I was reminded that I thoroughly enjoy his company and that spending quality time together is so important in keeping a relationship on track. So is an appreciation of the little things. Enjoying a good meal that he cooked and his sense of humor is more important than that he left the kitchen a mess. Not taking the things he does for granted. Actually saying thank you rather than just thinking it. I know he doesn’t expect that, but I do appreciate him and he won’t know if I don’t tell him. Assume nothing.
I’m writing this while at the cancer infusion center and watching a couple in their 50s. She’s the one in the chair hooked up to the IV. He hovers, extremely attentive. Trying to anticipate any need she may have. Trying to mitigate any discomfort. He can’t stay still. I see concern on his face with a touch of fear perhaps. He loves her and being proactive helps hide the fear. It allows him to feel like he has some impact in a situation for which neither has much control. Disease puts much in perspective. Perspective gained through time and experience. I think the harsher the experience, the more it shapes you, but how is up to you entirely. I’ve met people who turned bitter; who can’t see past their own personal pain and fear, very much like Katherine in the beginning of the play. Stuck in quicksand and sinking so slowly that they don’t recognize the danger. I feel sorry for them. You can lament what is lost to you whether it’s opportunity, a person or your health, but clinging to anger is no way to experience life. Anger without resolution is a living death. At some point, you have to realize that this life is not fair. Random, really crappy things happen. Some people are burdened more than others. You can look back and learn. You have to look back to learn, but always move forward in the end. Hopefully, you can recognize what holds true importance before you face the loss of it. The trick is to remember it when the danger has passed.
In the end, Katherine finds love and respect, and so have I. It’s good to remind myself periodically of its true place in my life and not let day-to-day issues diminish it. I am able to see the important things on a different level, because I know what it is like to have them ripped away. I’ve found my joy. May you find yours.