I received an article from my good friend and loyal blog supporter, Janet Bender, a few days ago and pulled it yesterday to read. It was as if the article had just been patiently waiting for me to click it on…it provided me a special word I have been searching for….almost twelve years…and as if that wasn’t enough…it gave me a new outlook on Anne Peterson’s “Carolina Girl” painting. (The one of me looking out to sea.) *I was supposed to read this article.
As soon as I started on it…I knew why Janet thought of me immediately when she initially read it. It is a true story by the author, Niki Hardy. She finds herself, one day, in the one place she never wanted to be listening to a diagnosis she had heard sadly from her mother and sister in her family…and now, ironically, it appeared to be her time. She describes this moment:
“It’s either cancer or lymphoma. That’s what the doctor said. I was stunned into silence, or perhaps it was the anesthesia still coursing through my veins. All I managed was a faint, “Oh.”
A cancer diagnosis is devastating enough, but I’d just lost my sister to this awful disease six weeks before, and my mom six years before that. Had the heat-seeking missile of death now locked in on me? My mind raced and swirled.
Are you kidding me, God, after all I’ve done for You?
What have I done to deserve this?
Are You mad at me?
Where’s this full, abundant life You promised me?”
Niki hit the nail on the head in describing her feelings and disappointment that God let her down….how many times have we all felt the same terrifying estrangement at our lowest points in life?
Niki goes on to describe all the usual treatments that followed…chemo, radiation, and surgery. As time went by she found a support group who knew exactly how she was feeling and were there to let her know that each one of them had felt the same disappointments in life, the universe, and even God at varying times. It is always hard to figure out who or what you are mad at….but anger is a predominant feeling.
It was at this point in the story…I about fell out of my beloved recliner…this support group told her that they had come up with a new name for a cancer survivor…because no one liked this term!
*I did a whole blog on that same frustration (some of you might remember a couple of years ago about the time of our team Relay for the Cure walk)…I always felt like the term “survivor” was not truthful in the sense that in my case cancer hadn’t and probably wouldn’t leave me permanently but I was so fortunate to be one of millions in our country and the world living with cancer due to modern medicine and in my case…holding tightly to God’s Hand.
I love the word these gals came up with….it has made my day! Thanks Niki for this excerpt!
…“During treatment, I met people who’d ditched the name “survivor” for its more hope-filled cousin, “thriver.” They didn’t deny that life had fallen apart, but they simply embraced the joy, connection, life and laughter to be found in its wreckage. I wanted to do that, too.”
…”I wanted to escape the pain of suffering, and slowly, I learned that life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full. The full life Jesus gives us doesn’t look like the glossy, happy-skippy, healthy, wealthy feeds we scroll through absentmindedly in the checkout line. Instead, it’s like small, uncut rubies buried in the rubble of our here and now.
Friend, Jesus made it possible for us to thrive, not just survive.”
In spite of my breast cancer going on almost 12 years (isn’t that in itself miraculous?) I am thriving…I have an amazing family, grown children, adorable grandchildren, and friends who are part of my extended family of life…you know who you are…and you are on the top branches of my Tree of Life. (As well as all of you, my new friends and readers from the blog…you, who, make my life sparkle.)
And speaking of sparkling…As Niki Hardy (she said her scary health experience has made her live up to her surname! ) finished her story….she made the following reference…and that became the link to “Carolina Girl.”
Anne and I talked about the painting she did and how I am looking towards the horizon where it is calm and beckoning me to it…and purposefully not looking down around my feet where the turbulent waters can be found. The idea is for us to always look towards our own individual horizons and not get bogged down in the every day struggles we all face.
But then Niki Hardy put a new twist on this idea in her conclusion that I love for an ending too….
We don’t need to have all the answers; we simply need to be willing. Willingness is hope, trust and faith all bundled into a tentative yes. A yes that says: “I am a thriver. I believe life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full, and with God’s help, I’m jolly well going to grab it.”
So until tomorrow…”AMEN!” 🙂
(Source: “What If Life Doesn’t Have to be Pain-Free to be Full?” Niki Hardy (God Updates)
Luke came over and sprayed my front, side, back yard and garden for mosquitoes Thursday night and yesterday I watered, picked up sticks, fallen branches, and pine cones…for at least two hours and didn’t get one bite. THANK YOU LUKE!!!!
I found my own “ruby among the rubble” as I was picking up yard trash rubble and watering plants…I had to look a second time…but one of my hostas is getting ready to bloom…a beautiful shade of ruby pink!