Friday, January 25, 2013

A Journey from Fear to Courage, Despair to Hope ....Part II

This is the continuation of the article I wrote in 2003.......

"One of the interesting insights that I have had writing this article is that I have never been angry at God.  It never occurred to me that God had done this to me.  I remember in Thomistic Philosophy, Fr.  Smith saying that the body is corruptible and therefore disease is part of the human condition.   That kept me in check.  This was not divine retribution for past sins - it was my body breaking down.  My faith and belief in a good and loving God are what sustained me.  Once, when I was having chemotherapy and was falling asleep, I remember saying to a friend,  "God has been so good to me".  A few days later she reminded me of that statement and asked how could I say that when I was fighting such a horrible disease.   I began to share some of the blessings that had come my way since June 27.   God does not cause bad things to happen, but God sure gives us incredible strength to get through them.  In all this time, I have never lost faith.   I have railed at God saying 'why me?', but that lasts only a moment.  I remember the blessings that God has showered on me during this time:  letters and cards, phone calls and visits.  I had eleven priest visit me in hospital over a period of a week.  I kept thinking that the nursing staff was going to think I must be a nun.   My school community carried me on the days that I felt I couldn't go on.  Food was delivered cooked and uncooked.   {My daughter} was driven to activities.  Our lives were allowed to go on in the midst of illness because of the people God had placed in our way long before I became ill.  All of these things were reminders  that God was very much with me.

How have a changed so much as I stated at the beginning?  Well, first and foremost, I don't waste time on trivial matters.   If it isn't life or death, 'it ain't worth worrying about'.  I wake up everyday grateful for another day.  I realize how precious relationships are.  During the early part of my struggle, I would become angry at people who  focused too much on material things.  On an appointment to my oncologist I mentioned this 'not too proudly'.  He gently reminded me that in my situation relationships were the primary concern, but for the rest of the world RRSP's were the primary concern.   I think in many ways I am luckier than most.  I don't know how long I have any more than you do; I just have been reminded more tangibly how precious the time I have is.  I have the ability, and the excuse, to focus on more important intangibles than the rest of you.   Do I think about dying?  All the time!   Do I worry about dying?  Not in the least.  I'm too busy worrying about what I will do later today!!!!!!

Over this past  year, a lot of people have referred to the courage and strength that I have shown.  In some ways I guess that is true, but it is just how I deal with everything.   Don't think I haven't cried myself to sleep, or woken up in the night scared because those things have happened, and continue to happen.   What courage is not, is the absence of fear.   Courage is even when we are frightened we don't allow our fears to control us.   Fear is born out of human weakness, our woundedness.  It is a part of who we are as humans.  It is our faith, and our belief in God, that gives us the strength to over come those fears and live each day with joy.  I never wanted cancer and I would never wish this horrible disease on anyone.   But through it all, I have been reminded of the goodness of God.  Through people, God has shown me I am truly loved.  How many people in their lifetime get to see how much they are loved?  If for no other reason, that has made this journey worthwhile.   I don't know if the old adage, "God never gives you more than you can handle" is true.  I only know that whatever comes our way God walks the journey with us."

As I rewrite this article from 2003, I realize that I have not changed my understanding of life, or my own journey in many ways.   The words I wrote then are still true to me today.   I have had many more years since then and yet I have lived them to the fullest.  I look back and I can't say that I would live my life, or want to live my life any differently.    Cancer is not a blessing, but my life  has been blessed in so many ways, how could I regret where I have come from.


Linda B said...

I think you should write a book .... at the very least, your writings on your blog should be published together. You are a wise woman !!
thank you for sharing so much of yourself with those of us who lurk out here, reading your postings !!

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Shelley J said...

I believe god is our constant companion especially when no one else is there for you..I will continue to follow with you on your journey, and thank you for the insights. Sincerely, shelley