I was frying potatoes.
Contemplating the meaning of life.
For real, I am not making this up.
Feeling small. Ponderous.
What is my message?
What is my purpose?
And then I stirred the potatoes.
They were dinner for my wife
who can eat 14 things now,
including water and salt
and sugar and coffee,
rice and chicken
and oats and organic Gala apples
and blueberries, boiled,
and whole milk and best of all
butter. Also seltzer and Pom juice,
her new elixir of choice.
And I remember when it was only rice
and she was losing weight and scaring
us both and everyone else
and someone asked if she was dying
and I went crazy in my head
at the question, which I knew was
not unreasonable given her rapid
precipitous decline but still could not
hear, could not accept, could not bear
when everything in me was existing
to keep her here and help her live.
So frying potatoes, you see,
really did have me contemplating
the meaning of life, and the meaning
of survival, the meaning of joy,
the meaning of thriving, the meaning
of healing, the meaning of marriage,
the purpose of loving, the message
of resilience, of learning how to give
and of learning how to receive,
of being forced so far out
of our comfortable roles
that we both had to grow
into bigger, more complete humans.
And in the growing, so much became
available — poems and dreams
and going all the way into the dark
that we wouldn’t let claim us
and seeing each other
there, eyes lit by eyes
and hearts by hearts
that to be given another chance
is nothing to sneeze at or spit at,
nothing to miss even a minute of
to self-pity or regret or doubt
or envy. We get to be here.
That’s it. That’s my purpose.
That’s my message.
We get to be here.
And if it’s not working for you,
Because you can.