Sky full of clouds, pensive piano notes in my ears, about fifteen minutes from home with all the groceries. She calls me with gravity in her voice, which is rare. I pull over instantly.
Yes, cancer. Yes, surgery, yes chemo, yes radiation. Yes. My best friend. Yes healing. We’re holding one another from 2000 miles away, hugging over FaceTime, struggling to find the words. When I finally find mine, I tell her I’ll shave my head when she does. Together we’ve lived in the same house, studied, played, traveled, had our hearts broken, gotten married, had babies. She’s clearly ready to take on the true healing, though, and that’s what this conversation reveals.
Strangely, her softening becomes my own; I can still see I allow agitation to seep into my day, hurling me quietly into anxious reactivity. Over months, I watch from a distance as she becomes more vulnerable, less afraid. I feel her shift and am moved to ease up on myself, to drive more slowly, to listen for the holiness in the voices of those closest to me. It’s still happening.
When we finally shave our heads, I worry the new look might change me, harden my heart somehow; instead I find myself with more time and space to think and feel, to rest and be. It’s as though I can take myself more seriously. Somehow more intentionality is accessible without all that hair, that whole personality. And I can hear the forest outside differently. Witnessing the most fearsome possibility has raised us up, brought us closer to ourselves and our own trust.
This surprising, stunning chapter is still open for both of us