Affirming the Awkwardness

Much of what Jessica and I have been invited to live into with regard to cancer and community is the task of affirming the awkwardness that necessarily exists between us and you.

Huh? Am I calling you awkward?

Well, yes, kind of. And no, not really. The whole thing, to be honest, is hopelessly awkward.

When you stop me and you say “Ryan, how are you?” we both realize that this is an awkward question without a good response. ‘Cause we both know part of the answer, “How am I? Oh, I’m just dying of cancer, that’s all. How are you?” or I could just go the polite route, “I’m great. How are you?” which leaves both of us fully aware that we just had an incredibly superficial dialog that was wholly useless. How am I? What you’re really wanting to say is “Ryan, I care for you. I want you to know that I care for you but I’m not quite sure what to say or how to say it.” but saying that would be equally awkward now wouldn’t it?!

And so we rest in the awkwardness of there being very little to say–very few appropriate things to say for such a time as this. Good MRI reports often make it easier, it gives us positive content to focus on. “I heard about your good results! Congratulations!” or, in other words, “Hey, I’m so glad we’ve got something to talk about that feels more socially appropriate than death!” and you’re right. Death is awkward to talk about in a quick casual conversation.

Sometimes I like to enter death into the conversation way before it’s socially appropriate. Sorry. Sometimes it’s just funny. Sometimes it cuts the tension in such a way that I just can’t pass it up. Sometimes I seriously simply forget what’s normal.

What is normal though?

 

7 thoughts on “Affirming the Awkwardness

  1. Maybe we should say, "How are you FEELING, TODAY?" A moment in a day, or even a day in a year, does not a life make (ok, Yoda). I consider myself a happy person, but I also have very moody moments. And that's fair for everyone. So you just let us know what we can do to lift you up, and we'll keep fumbling with it ;-) You inspire me to be a better person. Thank you!

  2. You are SO right, it is awkward, however, it has to be SO wonderful to have SO many people praying for you and caring about you!!!
    I SO get what you are talking about because with Stan's Alzheimer's his friends just stay away! He does have Alzheimer's but he CAN still talk,
    carry on a fun conversation, but because they feel "awkward" they just stay away! SO I would take "awkward" any day than "nothing"! Hang in there Ryan, know all your world and all your friend's worlds are praying for a miracle for you, Jess and the kids! And that is NOT "awkward" at all!!! You just keep on inspiring everyone and what an amazing example you are to your children and all of us! Hugs….

  3. You only received two comments..well three, including mine, or four if you add yours? I guess it really is awkward:) Fucking Humans! I love you man. Can I just come see you now?

    • How do you like that Jason? I'm now up to (including mine here) six comments! I'm getting so popular! I think I'm going to text you right now to see if we can't grab lunch next week. Thanks for always posting either thoughtful or awkward comments on my blogs. Love it dude!

  4. I do not know you, but I do care for you and your family. You are all in my prayers. The world needs more men of faith and you are an inspiration. Love to you.

  5. As Patsy Clarmont wrote: "Normal is just a setting on the dryer." Not one of us is "normal". Praise the Lord!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>