Hello, friends! I want to start out this post by thanking all of you who have reached out to me with love and support in response to last week’s post. I feel incredibly blessed to have such a loving community of friends both far and near, from all stages of my life.
This week, I’m going to talk about the meantime. As you know, the meantime can refer to the time being, the here and now, or the interval between two phases of one’s life, whatever those bookends are for you. It’s that period before something anticipated happens, or before a specified era ends. The meantime can be a space that is fallow or uncultivated if you allow it to be, or conversely, it can be a space where seeds are planted that bear fruit for you to harvest, fruit that will last.
In another sense, our whole lives might be called ‘meantime’ – that gap between the day we are born and the day we die. It is up to us to determine how we will best utilize that time if we want to make our mark on this earth and leave behind a legacy. But that’s getting too deep for the point of this blog! What I’d like to contemplate today is how we tend to fill our meantime spaces in everyday life.
There are a few “meantimes” in my life right now. The first is that our only son Amari is in China, as you know. It’s funny–three weeks can seem short or long depending on what’s happening. I’m here to tell you as a mother, that when your 9 ½-year-old son is on another continent, one that you have never been to, for an entire three weeks and three days, that time frame seems practically interminable! Today is his 13th day away, and he won’t be back for 12 more days! They return to New Jersey on May 8 and believe me; I’ll be at the school with the rest of the parents to welcome our sons back home after the opportunity of a lifetime.
Their trip includes sharing the gift of music with audiences all over China. They perform in gorgeous modern world-class venues such as the Beijing Concert Hall, the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, the Chengdu Jincheng Art Center, the Suzhou Culture and Art Center, and Hong Kong City Hall, where they’ll perform with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong. Don’t worry – I’d never heard of any of these places either! But through looking them up on-line and receiving pictures from the trip, I am positively awestruck.
Additionally, the boys are experiencing the wonder of sights like the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Giant Panda Zoo, which will broaden their cultural, historical, and personal horizons as well. China may not have been on my bucket list of places to visit before Amari’s trip, but it certainly is now, especially since my son can be my tour guide! So, in this meantime between his departure and return, I’m filling the space by enjoying the regular pictures and updates sent via the WeChat app from staff members (isn’t technology great?!), and continuing to revel in the joy of the 5-minute video chat Amari and I had last week.
Another meantime I’m experiencing is anticipation about my trip to Philadelphia this weekend. I’m going there tomorrow for a conference called “Thriving Together,” sponsored by an organization called Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The conference is for persons living with metastatic breast cancer. What’s more, I’m part of a cohort of about 25 others who have been selected to participate in a Training Program called “Hear My Voice.” I’m excited to meet other women and men living with advanced breast cancer, to listen to their stories, and learn from and be of support to one another. After the conference ends, we’ll be equipped to be involved in education and advocacy on the local, state and national levels for the coming year.
There is so much knowledge that needs to share about metastatic breast cancer. It’s time to go way beyond the cotton candy pink fluff of “Breast Cancer Awareness” month in October, and begin to spread the message breast cancer is a disease that affects people every single day of their lives, and their family’s lives as well. It does not go away October 31. And while awareness and early detection are helpful, they are only the smallest pieces of the big puzzle that comprise not just breast cancer, but all cancers.
The last meantime I want to mention is the space I’m in that involves researching my next steps on my treatment plan. I’ve done a lot of work, but there remains more to do. I’m excited about the options I’ve uncovered, and at the right time, I’ll share them here. Although fear and uncertainty can characterize ‘meantimes’ like these, I am doing my best to overcome them with faith, friendship, and family. So far, it’s working!
Now it’s your turn. What meantime experiences are you having right now? How do you fill the seemingly endless time between one significant life event and another? What activities help you, and what do you find least helpful? I’d love to hear from you. So if you have a moment in your meantime, send me a comment on Facebook, my website, or via Instagram. In the meantime, I’ll look forward to seeing you next week!