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Day 657

The Secret to Surviving: Counting as Spiritual Engagement...

It seems so strange to think this, but one of the things I've learned over the past 6 months is this: you should count things, especially time. It can help you cope, and even grow.

As Jews, we engage in counting all the time. The most identifiable Jewish ritual is "counting the omer," which are the 49 days between the second day of Passover and Shavuot. For many, the counting symbolizes the voyage out of Egypt to the revelation on Mount Sinai.

I started counting down the days of radiation treatment after a few weeks; I celebrated on my birthday that I was halfway through, and when I got down to the last 10 days, I started writing on the hospital's chair where I sat every day before treatment.

Now I'm counting down the number of days until I stop hormone therapy; each day, I record it on my left wrist, and when I'm feeling like shit, I look at it, and remember: this will end, it will end. Time will pass; I'm on my journey, I'm getting there..... and each day is an opportunity to express that in a creative way, to celebrate the passage of that time and make it holy.

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