I consider myself a very spiritual person. I use the word spiritual as opposed to religious, because as those who know me would agree I am certainly anything but religious. I have a very strong faith, and it is very much my own. I believe that faith has played a very large part in how I have chosen to journey with this disease. Cancer has the ability to take everything you hold dear away, sometimes even unfortunately friends who may be incapable of dealing with this horrible disease. The one thing that cancer can not take away, without my permission, is my faith (or read Soul)..and that is not going to happen.
One of the main things I believe human beings need in life more than anything or anyone is Purpose. We must believe that there is a reason for us to be here and we must be allowed to at least try to achieve it. Over the past ten years I have found that many, very kind and compassionate people, have not quite understood that. When I am sick, and I mean in bed, throwing up, cranky sick, I need to have things done for me and actually I would rather not be counted on too much. On the other hand, when I am not 'sick' just not totally healthy, I have to believe that there is something that I am necessary for in this life. I know the old adage that we have value simply by being, and I believe that, but I also know that when I am capable I want to do more. I have been very blessed in my life with a group of people who have allowed me to be very important and useful in the midst of my illness. It is so nice to know that I can still lend an ear, make someone smile, and just help out in general for those who are also struggling with their own problems.
The reason I wanted to talk about this is that I don't know if many understand this. Unless you have been there, maybe you think that protecting people and sheltering them from everyday life is what they need. Note I say need, they may not necessarily want to be involved but they NEED to be in order to live. One can exist on this earth for years without actually living. Allow them to do something for you, or listen to a problem that maybe you are having, share your feelings about their illness, allow them to comfort you. To move outside of ourselves allows us the ability to put the focus on another rather than always feeling that the spotlight is on us. It gets really uncomfortable to always feel that I am the only needy person. I have people in my life that allow me to help them and they will never know what that means to me. At least if I am still capable, I really need to be involved. Don't decide that things are too much for me, or that I have enough going on without you adding your problems. Needing me gives me energy, and energy gives me the ability to battle this awful disease.
So the next time you meet someone who is struggling with loss or illness, give them something important to do ......like being that presence in your life that you have been in theirs. My faith says that God exists, but God exists most fully in other people helping other people.....please continue to see God in me....and not in some saintly way but in a very human way!