Wednesday, April 15, 2009
There are times in every one's life when the rains begin to fall. At first they may seem to fall gently, soft upon your face. But then you look up, see the clouds opening up wider, the rain falls harder and the winds gust fuller. Suddenly the rain you welcomed has become an unwelcome threat forcing you to run for cover and shelter. The rains began softy, refreshing your weary body, but have now turned their forces, overwhelming, overtaking and flooding all you once held to. As the sheets come down, your eyes catch sight of a powerful flash flood coming from around the corner. Before you have time to catch your breath you have gone under with the sheer force of it's measure.
Living in the wake of cancer is very similar to being caught up in a sudden storm. One moment you are basking in the sun, enjoying the beauty of life, when suddenly there is a down pour of hard, forceful, pounding rain falling on top of your head. It is this type of rain that can and will at some point over take and break you. The truth of it is no matter how strong a swimmer you may be, once the waters begin to swell, hitting with such ferocity, your body bends, breaking with the rain as it gives way for these powerful waters to swell.
Cancer, chemo, surgery, people, doctors ... all these things begin to strip and break you down. You may hold tight for as long as you can even begging your body, willing it not to let go, but still the rains come. As each drop falls you may desperately try shielding those you love from the cold icy waters but the truth is the force of it, the pain and the weariness begin to slice away at your resolve. Suddenly you have no fight left inside you and this my friend is the one moment your eyes open wider than they ever have before. In this exact spot you will begin to let go of the thin branch you' ve been holding on to all this time. Your body is tired, your mind is weak and your heart feels crushed beneath the rising waves trying to over take and pull you under. But I ask you this, do you give in, allow the storm to claim your life or do you fight back with all you have left?
Honestly, I think that is clearly the most truthful picture I can ever share with you. I tried so long to be strong, to be invincible in the world's eyes, and not give into my weakening body. But when it came down to it there were those times, and still are, in this journey when I just need to call out for help. The weakness, the hurt and the physical pain are real and even if just for a moments time, can be exposed for everyone to see.
This has been the hardest road of my life, the biggest challenge I have ever had to face. Breast cancer has beat me up, knocked me down, stripped me of all I once knew and cut me deeper than anyone can ever fathom. And yes, I have worked very hard to be strong, vigilant, to keep my guard up, fight the monster, slay the beast and jump over every hurdle put in my way. But sometimes, just sometimes, my weakness spills through and the pouring rain, the ragging waters wash over me. Even though I try with all my might the current still pulls me under as the waters rise to sweep my hope, my strength, and my courage away.
As a CANCER Survivor, fighter, and yes at times it's victim, those are the moments of sheer weakness chilling you to the bone, gnawing at your soul and truly breaking your spirit. Those unguarded rushes of hard, nail driving, heart splintering waves as the rains fall down can remove your once strong foundation. The truth is plain as day, as hurtful as some may be it is not those actions searing your heart or turning your spirit into broke pieces, but it is the CANCER itself. She alone has ripped your feet right out from under you. It is CANCER reaching into the deepest part of who you are causing you to close your eyes and shutter.
So I say this now, with a heart that still beats strong, even if my spirit is weak, I have stood as strong as I can through all this. I know that I am not perfect and I can be weak just as I can be challenging even on my better days but I still look to the sky and hold to hope. Even if I am weak in this moment and the rains begin to break me, they can not have all of me. I am never weak beyond repair, though I may be battered for certain. The days have come when I have simply been tired, my body feeling as if it might shut down and never turn over again. Yes, I have felt close to tears and I hated myself for it but I am human after all trying to stay afloat in a very flooded, mixed up world.
At the end of these kind of days I have no doubt I will rise above the flood waters, nor do I doubt the grace within me will lay my Maker's mercy upon me. I am held close, pulled up from beneath the current and it's crushing force. Though doubt may have been my companion, true peace will rest beside me at this days end. Wounded, most certainly, but liberated I will be in this JOURNEYS end. In each step I gained strength I never knew I had before. Desperation, I have known all too well and though tears have fallen from my eyes, and down my face I trust I will be pulled out away from the driving rain. So I will stand with my back against the wind, arms stretched out, linking with those who have reached for me, knowing in this HOPE I stand strong.
Broken as we may all be by the rain, we will endure. CANCER in all her breaking winds cannot keep us from rising above the pain. So I end this now, saying this to all I love... I am not who I was before and not yet who I am to be when this JOURNEY is done with me.