In the last week of 2016 I have enjoyed the peaceful lull of the time I like to call “in-between”. The hectic rush of the Christmas holiday is behind me, the New Year still ahead. Some of us are still off work, some of us have a few more days but on the whole the streets are calmer, there’s less frenetic energy in the air. Perhaps many are still under the cloud of the holiday hangover – food, friends, family and wine. In the “in-between”, there is time to breathe, to contemplate the future, to look back and figure out where we are now and where we’d still like to go. The “in- between” interval just before the New Year holds a magical wonder. Wherever we are in the world, we are charmed by either the spectral mist of a winter night or the crimson veil of a summer evening.
There are all sorts of “in-between” moments – in between projects, in between work, in between sunrise and sunset, in between rehearsal and performance, in between waking and sleeping. The “in-between” is this ethereal layer that closes the gap between one activity and the next, a quiet contemplation of preparation before making the next step. In the tricky world of RA, these moments can be found in between exercise, in between treatment, and most especially, in between flares. Those are the moments I can ponder and appreciate. It’s those moments in between that help me decide where to go next. I can reflect on how well I’m doing, or not doing, and what I should do next to change it. I can celebrate my progress, or take a step a back and start again. RA is a difficult beast at times – no matter how many years I’ve dealt with it, no matter how many times I think I’ve found a way to reign it in, I never underestimate the role it plays in my life. I use those precious “in-betweens” in RA to figure out how to entrench the next piling beneath the bridge that will take me where I want to go.
I love the “in-between” moments. I love the quiet break when I’m not in the midst of a project or run off my feet with work and obligations. In the last fleeting moments before the New Year, I count down the hours, anticipating all the “in-betweens” that are always present in the shadows of my life, and in the ongoing battle against my disease; I hope for all those “in-between” moments to breathe, persevere, move forward, take a step away from RA and catch a glimpse of the discoveries that are waiting there.
“Upon a wire I dance; the world lies far beneath me and without a net I prance. Take my hand and hold on tight, there is no need for fright. Dance upon the wire with me, our destiny in sight”. – Excerpt from the poem “Dance” by J.G. Chayko
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.