My commitment to technology has always been on a strictly need-to-know basis. I’ve never had the budget to afford the latest gadgets, so I’ve divorced myself from wanting them. For my birthday this year, my parents are giving me an IPod Itouch and I’m pretty excited because, short of accessing the Hubble Telescope, you can do almost anything on them and I’m getting one with enough memory to hold half my external hard drive. Recently, I asked my mom for all the correspondence and literature she had that pertained to the time period around my brain surgery 9 years ago.
She gave me a key ring with a little dangly hanging off it.
“What the hell is this?”
“It’s a jump drive,” she said without getting off her exercise bike.
“I asked for –“
“I know what you asked for. That’s all of it. Just plug it into your computer.”
I did this and, low and behold, all the emails and written accounts she had documented from that time period. Plus photos and other sundries. Within moments, I was crying. Not because I am an overly sentimental person, though that’s part of it. I was simply shocked at the amount of well wishes and prayers and everything else that were going on in my name.
The prayers especially. I come from a very Catholic upbringing and the amount of prayer circles and lit candles and rosaries that were said for me was simply overwhelming. One woman told of how she was engaged in some sort of online praying community that spanned the globe and she had added my name to the prayer list.
I mean good God, people in China and Brooklyn and Finland were praying for me to make it through the brain surgery alongside prayers for little Mumumboo in Africa and Jorge in Nicaragua. Alright, maybe not those places specifically, but I hear “online prayer circle” and that’s what comes to mind. But I guess at the time, it’s as good a thing to pray for as any. I mean, it’s God, y’know? Far be it from me to think that He has too much going on to think to give me a break. Would that He had had enough forethought to plant the seed in people’s heads to not bring candy to my room or maybe damage the part of my brain that knew that I smoked. I gotta admit though, I did kinda feel like Tony Soprano in my hospital gown and my ass hanging out while I smoked near the hospital door.
The thing I have to continually remind myself is that this going to be a long slog. I’ve thought about it, and it’s going to tap into an emotional well that I haven’t dropped a bucket in in quite a while. I mean, in just that short session of reading emails, the outpouring of support that everyone in mine and my family’s lives put forth was nothing short of astonishing. And thank God we have the friends we do, because I’d read message after message after message with the most sincere offers of help. Then there’d be a message from Mom’s best friend saying simply “What the Fuck? People never showed me this kind of love whenever I was sick.” Or words to that effect. And I haven’t gotten to my mother’s narratives or the account of me getting the Last Rites (That’s right, sports fans, I’m one of few living Catholics that has gotten that sacrament and lived to tell about it. I know, as if my ego wasn’t big enough already, having cheated death and all, right?)
I’ve written the initial outline of how the book will look. And right at the start is an introduction written by Him. That one was tough. I had to put myself in a place where I would be submerged in thinking like Him, but listening to Tool or White Zombie or Trent Reznor only kind of grasped it. At the end of an hour, I had written ¾ a of page and I still wasn’t done but I couldn’t write anymore either. That is, sadly, how I know my thinking about this is right on. That’s what I mean by long slog.
This isn’t going to be easy.