You do have a brain tumor! It is very small! And probably benign! It doesn’t require any treatment at all! Just an occasional scan in a noisy machine in the hospital basement! It’s wonderful news!

And the old blessing steps out of the shadows.

Your cozy bed! Your fuzzy slippers! This delicious coffee! The morning light! The muttering songbirds! The warm, soft body of your lover! You breathe in the damp clay smell of morning! You taste your food, you chew it up and swallow it! You wash the dishes!

You open the front door to go out. It is dazzling.

Your strong legs propel you up the trail along the reservoir. It is cold and bright. A kingfisher perches on a branch up ahead, its crest lit up in the slanting winter sun. Look, it’s taking a tremendous squirting crap, a brilliant comet streaking across the sky! The blessing rolls with laughter.

Hello blessing. So glad you’re here. Please, stay as long as you can.

Gwen is a quantitative researcher using insights from data to improve social service delivery at Code for America.

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