So, today I seem to be a walking bag of anxieties. You may be thinking, "Yeah, Rae, what else is new?" because you know me well enough to know that I'm not exactly a stranger to anxiety. But, really, it's been better lately. I'm not walking around with my shoulders touching my ears, or kicking rocks with a knot the size of a yak in my stomach.
The funny thing is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that an ultrasound on my neck revealed a questionable mass (that they seem to refrain from calling a tumor, opting for the much less scary "mass," although I think they mean pretty much the same thing) which is now the center of attention of the doctors who are supposed to be paying attention to my wee unborn babe.
It was a two-in-one ultrasound, one being pictures of my baby, two being pictures of my thyroid. I've had what I thought was an enlarged thyroid for years, and it's actually the reason that I came home from India early, four and a half years ago, to have it examined. We find now that they are not one and the same, rather I have a little cling-on. But, the ultrasound of the baby went swimmingly, and the technician even went so far as to say that my baby gives very good images (which is another way of saying that he is extremely photogenic, even at this young age) and when I left, she thanked me for being such a good scan (which I took as her way of saying that she has never worked with anyone as kind and witty as me). It was great, the grainy black and white images of my active baby who rolled around the whole time she tried to catch him with her little wand. He has beautiful hands, I can tell. (We don't know that I'm having a boy, I just say "he.") Chinua, Kid A, and the YaYa Sister were in the room, Kid A watching with a kind of stupefied awe, wrinkling his brow to try to see what exactly we were seeing, and YaYa being generally distracting by turning the lights off and on and pulling on various cords. It was at once very like our romantic first ultrasound of Kid A, and very unlike.
But, as for the lump, I can't say that I'm that worried about it. I mean, I have to be careful not to think about it too much at certain times of the night or day, since my imagination is wild and morbid, (as Anne Lamott writes, "my mind is a bad neighborhood that I shouldn't walk through alone"). As Chinua and I drove home that night, the kids asleep in the back of the van, we skirted around and dove into the loaded topics of sickness and death. We talked about how sickening it is to think of dying when you have small children. It seems to be not even an option anymore, although of course it's outside of our control. Then I had a thought. "It's probably just something I swallowed the wrong way," I remarked to Chinua.
"Yeah," he agreed, "like a piece of chicken or something."
"Or it could be something I misplaced years ago,"I continued.
"Hmmm," Chinua mused. "It's probably a wad of twenties. Or maybe it's your twin. Teeth and a spinal cord." (Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding?)
But, back to the anxiety issue. It's funny that it always centers around something that I have absolutely no control over: Other people and their thoughts or emotions, how they are doing, or whether they hate me. It's like I walk around scrunching my forehead over things that I have no way of changing. The ball is not in my court. It's not even on the same block. I may as well worry about whether the river is flowing the right way.
Living here, at the Land, a discipleship community, I worry over the guys and girls who live here. Are they leaving? Should they be leaving? Did they leave for the wrong reasons? So-and-so looked sad at lunch, are they okay? Or, I worry about conflict. Is everyone mad at me?
I sound really pathetic. But it's pretty funny that I can trust God with my pretty neck (I like my neck, even if it is a bit lumpy. It's one of my favorite body parts, next to my forehead) yet I feel like the pasts presents and futures of the people in my life are on my shoulders. How ridiculous is this? I'm almost as much of a megalomaniac as Michael Jackson. Soon I'll be directing music videos with myself starring as the saviour of mankind.