The Kingdom of Now
I sit in The Kingdom of Now. It's an odd feeling to be so still in the present moment. I am very much absent from public hustle and bustle of planning programs, attending this or that event and of saying yes to requests of my time. Faced with a cancer diagnosis of multi-myeloma three years ago, I've largely moved away from my initial preoccupation with the surreal thought of dying. Death will come, but not at this moment.
And as much as I love Jesus and expect to see him in another dimension, I've learned in the last three years that I am not ready to meet up with him just yet. Mostly in the kingdom of Now, I think about food first, then God and thirdly books. What shall I eat today? God, grant me wisdom and harmony in my relationship with others. Rain, snow or sunshine...thank you God for this beautiful day. What books do I want to read and enjoy?
Food! What shall I eat today that falls within the boundaries I should keep? I want to prevent myself from being wed to a dialysis machine. I do not want to spend my days watching my blood run though plastic tubes. What shall I eat that will give me pleasure and prevent me from feeling the side effects of chemotherapy? I choose foods with less than high levels of potassium, calcium and phosphorus. I choose foods with strikingly different tastes and textures; arugula, pickled olives, apples, celery, cayenne pepper, potato chips, (low-salt), bok choy, basmati rice, walnuts, occasionally oysters, okra (boiled and slimy), mushrooms, red cabbage, navy pea beans, pop-corn, carrots, kale, romaine lettuce, lemons. I buy lots and lots of lemons.
When my nephrologist asks whether or not my appetite is good, I laugh. In the Kingdom of Now, I am obsessed with food in a way that I was not before my illness. I watch more cooking shows. Some days it feels boring to eat mainly healthy foods (even with varieties of herbs and spices.) Every once in a while I practice being really mindful of what I am eating. Who picked this lemon? What kind of family do they belong to? Where do they live? How much did they receive for their work? I feel grateful for the fresh juice I squeeze into my cup of warm water every morning. Some mornings, along with the honey, I add turmeric, cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cayenne pepper to my lemon water.
In the Kingdom of Now, I move in slow motion with deep gratitude. I'm learning to luxuriate in the spending of an entire day or several days simply reading a book. Lately, I feel the urge to revisit fairy tales, Christian scripture and revise a few short stories. I love the silence in my home and the blessing and presence of God as I learn to appreciate my sacred place in the Kingdom of Now.
Jeannette Drake is a retired psychotherapist who has published poetry, short-fiction, non-fiction and letters to the editor in a variety of journals and magazines. Her non-fiction books, Journey Within: A Healing Playbook (2005) and Promises: Inspirational Fantasies (2011) are available at Amazon.com. Her memoir, Far As the Eye Could See, is currently under consideration for publication. Visit her website at http://Jeannettedrake.com