Yesterday morning, while having coffee with a friend, we spent a lot of time talking about potential change. Going back to a conventional job versus staying home with kids, what that juggle might be like, how we felt about where we are, where we could be, where we should be. And then, as we were walking home, we ran into another friend who looked stricken as we said hello. On the verge of tears. She'd found out the day before that her best friend had breast cancer.
The trajectory of that woman's life changed in one sentence. Nothing would ever be the same. Out of nowhere she, her husband, her kids, her parents, her support system were plunged into the unexpected, the unknown, a dark, scary place where there were no guarantees everything would be ok in the end.
To be honest, no one can ever know all will work out but we live (or at least I do) in this place where we can pretend to have control.
We don't. Not really.
Not at all.
Another friend of mine lost his apartment this week. The recession hit him hard and he can't afford to keep his home. After years he's starting completely over. He'd tried, for too long, to maintain that everything was fine while his foundation was being worn out from under him.
I too, am standing on a precipice. It's not coming out of nowhere—I'm choosing this road instead of it choosing me. No, actually, it's not that black and white. I'm not choosing this out of nowhere. I'm choosing it because I have no choice. There's no way I couldn't give my brother a kidney. Put more plainly, of course my kidney is his.
But this road is fraught with unknowns. My first physical is next week. It could be that I'm a relatively healthy 46 year old. It also could be that there's all sorts of stuff going on in my body I don't know about. Yet. But soon I will. And after all that gets sorted out, once I have the green light to move forward, once we're tested and matched and tested again, once we're in the hospital and prepped for surgery, I still won't know. I won't know until I wake up whether I'll have one kidney or two. My brother's body is so compromised they won't know until they open him up whether he'll have room for a new organ.
All this could lead to nothing. Or a life, two lives, could be drastically, dramatically changed.
Life smacks you in the head sometimes and leaves you reeling. But, still, it's better than the alternative.