Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Even as I was weak...I was strong

Once upon a time, life was innocent. Growing up on a dead-end, dirt lane- sheltered from the real world we (I) lived in a happily ever after state of mind. There were games to be played, bikes to be ridden, creeks to be waded in. There were hammocks waiting, trees to be climbed and cool, clear water from the well to quench our thirst. Life was good. Life was simple.

The real world can be cruel.

Relationships that don't work as hoped. Jobs that don't last. But the feelings here on the dirt road remain the same. Peace covers the area, healing waits around ever bend in the path. Calm is found along the way, waiting to heal a broken spirit.

Once upon a time I was very naive. I believed in that happily ever after. Nothing worried me, I feared nothing, I was strong and dealt with what ever came. Right up until..IT.. came.

I was caught off guard, blindsided by a diagnoses that I wasn't expecting. My very first mammogram ..my very FIRST mammogram caught it. I had cancer. It was small according to the surgeon. I endured all of the tests and procedures and questions. I was poked and prodded and x-rayed and stuck in that giant metal tube called an MRI and I was strong. I was cut, I was bandaged, I was zapped with radiation. I was embarrassed and I was encouraged. I was strong...while people were watching.

Alone, I cried. In front of people, I was brave, I was capable, I was strong. Alone.. I was afraid and shaking. I wanted someone to hold me and tell me it would be fine. I knew it would. I knew I wasn't alone and that no matter what happened all would be well..but I wanted someone to say those words to me, reassure me. But I would never ask, never seek, never reach for anyone else. I would be strong and no one would know. If they asked how I was, I was fine. Why worry anyone, I was strong, I would be fine so I figured I'd claim it.

At work I struggled to put one foot in front of the other, I was so tired. Weary, so very excruciatingly exhausted. I wanted to craw into bed and pull the cover over my head, pushing away the world. But I had to work. My husband was out of work. Money had to come from somewhere. And it did. We never lost anything, didn't want for anything important. God provided for our needs through the compassion of friends. The same friends that I hoped would see my exhaustion, how I wished that someone else just for one day could put in online applications for my husband, could prepare a meal, could allow me to crawl into bed and sleep for a couple of days. But I was strong..and I made it. I wasn't alone, I knew that, God watched out for us. He knew when my strength was failing and He filled me with just what I needed.

At the cancer center, I would go in, get ready and wait my turn. How many times did I almost doze off as I waited? How many times did I imagine myself somewhere else as I lay on that table with a monster machine shooting rays of radiation into my breast? How many times was that table lowered and I was helped to stand? How many times did I look at the painting on the ceiling and wish I was walking among those flowers? But I was strong.

At home I began to walk. I would leave the house and head for the woods. I would sit at the table down at the pond and watch the water. I would feel the healing calm, the healing peace wash over me. I grew stronger spiritually as I grew weaker physically. Every day there was something new waiting on me. Flowers that were not there the say before. Flowering vines clinging to trees, wildflowers carpeting the field. Butterfly would dance in the air, praying mantis would watch as I passed while all the while the squirrel would bark and the birds call out about my presence in the woods. I was weak, but I was strong.

They got all of my cancer back in Feb. of 2008. I have been cancer free ever since. I am one of those that have been given the one more day. I am one of those that get to celebrate more birthdays. I get to spend time with my family, enjoy good meals, walking along the paths, healthy. I get to hear the teasing of younger brothers and not see the fear in their eyes.

I was in a series of storms, but I was strong. I was strong because I knew who was in control and it wasn't me. I was given an experience so that I could share, I could bring glory to the One who deserves it. And I could be strong for others, sharing what I went through, sharing the fears and procedures and bone tired weariness..and show that it does get better.

Now, I am strong, I work to support Relay for Life. I work in the hopes of helping others be survivors, celebrating more birthdays. I work hoping to help others have one more day to spend with family and friends, laughing singing, dancing or merely walking along a quiet woodland path listening to the squirrel bark and seeing the butterfly dance among the flowers. I support the ACS and Relay for Life..won't you??

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