A Gift Nobody Wants
by Ron Taylor
To tell you the truth, I don’t remember squat about being a baby;
And even less about when I was floating around in the womb
Being stitched into something barely capable of living in the World.
Suddenly I was being shoved out the door – ready or not – here I come!
And someone was holding me upside down slapping me on the ass.
I wanted to bite that grinning son-of-a bitch, but I didn’t have any teeth.
I was thinking this isn’t fair! It should be happening to someone else!
So I did what we all want to do when we feel oppressed and out of control:
I took a deep breath and I screamed and cried like a baby.
Then they wrapped me up in swaddling clothes
And laid me in the exhausted but waiting arms of someone.
She would become one of the major anchors in my life.
And I think I must have begun to fall in love for the first time.
I started crawling my way through the phases of childhood –
Can you remember when the major issues we had were things like
How to get enough air in the tires of our bicycles?
As we look back, it seems like everything was so simple then;
Though such problems actually seemed pretty weighty at the time.
Like so much about life, it’s all a matter of your perspective.
I slogged my way along and climbed each ladder rung in school;
Then one day they marched me across a stage and showed me the door.
And I learned it was a one-way portal to adulthood.
All I had was a very rudimentary map;
You were either North or South of the mountains and East or West of the river.
And like Lewis and Clark I began my explorations
With a dogged determination to find out just who I could be.
I can tell you that I’ve had some absolutely great times.
There were even days when Jupiter seemed aligned just right with Mars
To create mountain top experiences of pure joy – I remember them even now.
There was some bad – sure – though I’m pretty sure there were more joys overall.
And I’ve been to doctor’s offices lots of times.
You know the drill – sore throats, broken bones, surgery, shots and prescriptions;
Just some of the afflictions we all face in our lives.
But one day a guy in a white coat says,
“Your teeth look great. Your muscle tone is fine.
We finally got that athlete’s foot cleared up.
The only problem I see now is
You’ve got Cancer.”
I beg your pardon? What was that?
“But there are lots of options for someone like you.”
Uh huh. And I read in a magazine that one of them is dying before I’m ready.
“Don’t worry. There’s plenty of time for that later if needed.
But we can probably whup this stuff in no time.”
I’m gonna tell you a shameful little secret I haven’t told anybody else:
What I was thinking when I walked out of there was,
“I believe I’d rather have the athlete’s foot”.
So they began a host of treatments. They probed and cut. They irradiated.
I found out what some of that equipment in the hospital is for.
And believe me – some of it isn’t all that wonderful.
They gave me all kinds of noxious things that set me on fire
And caused my body to wage terrible battles against itself.
Then I found out that sometimes those magazine articles are right.
This isn’t fair! It should be happening to someone else!
I admit it. I’ve done some crying.
I figure I’ve earned the right. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.
I’ve tried playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with Jesus.
But He’s a tougher negotiator than you’d expect, given His reputation.
So I’ve decided what I’ve got left is my dignity.
Much of my exploring these days is way off that original map.
I’m flying blind – by the seat of my pants.
But what may amaze you is that this isn’t all bad – with nothing good to offer.
Someone told me I’d been handed a great gift.
My initial reaction was, “Bullshit! Tell you what – you can just keep it!”
But, see, my end won’t be sudden – like a massive coronary or a plane crash.
I’ve got priceless time to reflect on my life and what I’ve accomplished.
Sure. I’ve got questions. Who wouldn’t? But I’ve also got hope.
Now I can sing my songs to share some of who I am.
I want to share my hope so maybe others can catch some of it too.
I want to take my joy and hope to the next level and kick it up a notch.
I’m still not certain exactly what to expect.
But at least I have the luxury to recall what I’ve experienced in my life.
I have time to recognize and remember the many who have helped me –
And I can remember those whom I’ve tried to help.
I now believe those are the best parts of what my life has been about.
And I’ll take wondrous feelings and memories with me and spread my arms wide
As I embrace whatever magic may lie beyond the next door of the Universe.