“I’ve heard there was a secret chord, that David played and it pleased the Lord. But you don’t really care for music do you?”
Last week I got the news every cancer patient wants to hear: Scans show No Evidence of Disease. My cancer is in abeyance.
“It goes like this, the forth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift. The baffled king composing Hallelujah.”
Do I feel a sense of relief? Do I want to scream Hallelujah? Absolutely.
“Your faith was strong but you needed proof. You saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you.”
Do I want to believe there was something I did right to make this happen? Yes, again. But I also know better.
“She tied you to a kitchen chair, she broke your throne and cut your hair, and from your lips she drew the hallelujah.”
Yes, cancer has been that evil mistress who has thrown me to the ground, made me say uncle, then laughed at me mockingly as I struggled to get back up. Cut my hair? Hell, she sheared it right down to the scalp. And when chemo was done and it started to grow back, yes, she drew from my lips a hallelujah.
“Baby, I have been here before. I know this room. I’ve walked this floor. I used to live alone before I knew you.”
Even with cancer in abeyance, I no longer live alone. She lurks like a shadow within me, rogue cells slithering undetected in my blood, my bones, my organs. As I get back to my life, I struggle with this acceptance. That it’s not over. That it will never be really over. Not until there’s a cure.
“I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch. [Cancer] is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.”
It will return. I try to put that out of my head. I try to celebrate this moment, this win. I celebrate with a broken hallelujah.
“There was a time you let me know what’s real and going on below. But now you never show it to me do you? And I remember when I moved in you. The holy dark was moving to and every breath we drew was hallelujah”
A time when I could trust my body, the idea that if I was feeling healthy, I was healthy. That if everything seemed OK, it was.
“Maybe there’s a God above and all I ever learned from love was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.”
There was a time when everything was clear cut. When I aimed at a target and hit a bullseye, I was done. I’d made my mark and could move on.
“It’s not a cry you can hear at night. It’s not somebody who’s seen the light. It’s a cold and broken hallelujah”
I can not explain what it’s like to live a life turned-upside down, to fight to bask in the light of good news in this moment, despite the darkness that certainly lies ahead. Yes, it’s a cold and broken hallelujah.
All the same, it is hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.
– Quotes are lyrics to”Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.