When my children were babies, I used to catch myself staying awake even though I was exhausted just to watch them sleeping. I’d marvel at their perfection and I would have this feeling of not wanting to miss a single moment. I wanted to make time stand still and memorize every feature of them.
Since my husband’s cancer diagnosis, I’ve been doing the same thing, staying awake just to watch him sleep.
And I’ve been marveling at his perfection, wondering how I ever could have taken him for granted. He is such an amazing mix of traits and preferences with no other man like him.
As Jews, we say a blessing several times a day after we leave the bathroom called Asher Yotzar. This blessing thanks G-d for making our bodies with all their complex functions and keeping them working properly. As I watched my husband rest, this blessing came back to my mind in a new way. My husband has something wrong now with part of his body, something that is threatening him from within, but it’s also amazing that any of us function as we do when you think of all the complex things that go on inside our bodies every day, every moment. There are systems we never think of working in balance.
He had blood work last week to look for tumor markers. B”H, most of his numbers showed up in the middle of a spectrum, in a nice green band meaning that they weren’t too high or too low. As I watched his chest rise and fall in the dark, I couldn’t help but think with awe of the delicate balance that must be kept for us to live. Our blood r pressure must be just so, not too high so that we have a stroke or heart attack, but not so low that the same happens. Our blood sugar must stay at a perfect balance. Endless chemicals and substances in our bodies, always have to stay in a careful balance.
It’s like a ballet with so many moving parts and, the majority of our lives, it all just works without us even thinking about it, let alone thanking the Divine Choreographer for keeping it all so.
We’re taught in Chassidus that in every moment, G-d creates the world entire, from the smallest blade of grass to the mightiest mountain. Creation isn’t just something that happened at the beginning of the Bible, but something that happens in every instant, G-d singing the world into being with His Divine speech. So too, He is speaking our bodies with every complex system and balance into being in every moment, carefully knitting us together and setting everything into perfect harmony.
Even in my husband, there is much more still working perfectly in balance than not. I watched his steady breathing, knowing his heart was also beating and I closed my eyes, thankful that G-d still creates him in this world, over and over and watches over him, grateful that he is in my world and that we’ve had so many wonderful years together and praying for many more.
I don’t know where this path leads. We have more medical tests this week that will help shape the direction of this path ahead. I do know that I’m incredibly, profoundly grateful to have had this man in my life, no matter how long or short that time is.