This is a little something different. It’s not about my chemo, but a part of what keeps me going. My faith keeps me going. The topics will be taken from a book a friend recently gave me called, “A Quick Word with Beth Moore….. Scriptures & Quotations from BELIEVING GOD.” I will include the short “quick word” then write down my own thoughts. I realize that not every one will be interested in reading about faith, but it’s something very important to me and I would not be true to myself if I left this part of my life out.
So, I will just start now and I would love input from readers, I only ask the conversation to be civil and respectful and respectful in your language. So I invite you to read and see if you can appreciate it from your own perspective. I invite constructive criticism, and helpful suggestions.
God has far more
in mind then bringing forth
one kind of fruit from
your life. The harvest
God desires to produce
has the potential for
I realize with this cancer, the totally new and previously unfaced challenge in my life, I now have first hand experience and a result of that is a development of empathy for others going through their own cancer challenges. I’ve known people who had lost their battle with this disease, and I know those who are still fighting an uphill battle, and I know those, like myself, just starting out. Each one has a very different story and these stories are not to be lumped all together, assuming they’re even remotely similar. Where we are all the same, however, is that we are afraid deep inside, whether we show it or not, and we all choose how to handle that fear. While that is different, they were and are all brave people.
For most of my youngest years, I felt that my existence was like that of a plant. I was just “there.” Then at some point in my teenaged years, my mother told me something and I was taken aback because she never got this intimate with me with even just one sentence. She told me that I was special and to never forget that. I don’t remember much more or if we even had a longer conversation, but I have not forgotten that one sentence. So since then, I waited for something special to happen. I still did not feel special or had any thought or feeling about where I was going and felt no sense of purpose.
A lot of that stagnation, I believe, came from the fact that I was painfully shy and I literally mean PAINFUL. I got so upset around people, and also at home, that I had a terrible stutter. I could not get even one word out, then when I did, the second was not forthcoming, either. There were no services back then to address this impediment back in the mid-sixties and my parents had no idea about any such thing. I had very low self-esteem and social skills were non-existent. What really exacerbated this was the terrible bullying from boys in school, the same boys for eight years. The other kids didn’t dare talk to me let alone help. The administration, or in a Catholic elementary school that consisted of the principal and possibly the pastor of the parish. I’m very sure they knew what was going on, but they did absolutely nothing, My parents tried to get them to do something, but we were the Italian minority in an Irish Catholic Parish. (I should say that this thought came from my mother making these sort of comments, especially at the prospect of having to work with other moms on some school activity.) I withdrew into my own world. So this was basically my life from 1st Grade to 8th Grade.
I clearly remember that I asked a question of the visiting priest in Religion class about the Body of Christ. I did not get an appropriate educational answer which should have been easy for him to provide. His response was, “because the pope says so.” I kid you not. Without a decent answer, which I was fully aware of, I felt that I would not learn anything worth knowing about my religion from them and I am the kind of person that needs to know the whys of everything. I cannot even side with people without having an understanding of why I should do that and if I don’t like the reason, I simply can’t.
At some point while in that catholic school our parents stopped accompanying us to church, and my sister and I became skilled at cutting mass and went to the park right next door. When people started to leave, we went home. Since then until my mid thirties I did not practice my religion and had not the foggiest about the faith. After getting separated from my husband of an eight year marriage, I fled to the local church after work one Friday because I thought that I was doomed to hell for the impending divorce. Well, to be short about it, I did not receive any compassion from them. I was hysterical crying and for all they knew I could have been suicidal. They sent me away saying that I had to come back that Wednesday to make an appointment to see a priest. I left there and sat on the steps of the church after trying to get inside and the doors were locked. Well, I started to talk to God and Jesus (never really know who to pray to, exactly) and soon I sensed a presence. I just felt as if I was not alone and such a sense of peace came over me and I knew that I was heard. This started my true spiritual journey which was not limited to my own religion. A very interesting time and if I learned one thing, I learned that all religions are somehow connected. That question I had in school that was the start of me falling away from the church, was finally answered to my satisfaction. While learning about chakras, I made the connection between what Catholics believe about the Body of Christ and what they tell us about God; and that is that “God is inside us and all around us.” What I learned about energy is that it’s inside us and all around us in every living thing, and all living things are connected. I finally could understand that catholic teaching when first I understood about Universal Energy.
Wow what a back story! Can I get back to this topic, Potential? Okay, I will fast forward to the first time I felt that I had a God-given purpose. It was at the age of 43 years when I gave birth to my son. I was entrusted with this amazing tiny being who looked straight into my eyes and I could see inside his and found unconditional love and trust. I was blown away. If you’d like to learn more about those early days, just go to the beginning of my blog because I started it to spend sleepless nights writing about the story of how I became a mother against all odds…. well, some odds. I will be posting a calendar showing all of my blog posts. UPDATE on that: My blog started in 2006 but this calendar does not show the highlighted date at a glance to know there’s a post there. I have the archives set up to show by the year, so hopefully that will be helpful. After writing for a while, I got burned out and stopped short of deleting my blog. I just couldn’t erase the words from my heart.
Through the years, I have seen God’s hand working in my life. I am sure that there are things I am not meant to know, but I’ve seen His hand working. From Him providing very material needs from food and clothes to actual money coming from unexpected places. I learned to recognize the silver linings connected to my trials and personal tribulations. After reading a book called, “Life of the Beloved.” written by Henri J.M. Nouwen, I came to know that I, a sinner, have value to God. I am his vessel, whether I knew it or not, or whether I wanted to be or not and that’s the same for everyone. I have read many of these books and benefited from them, one being “The Wounded Healer.” which liked a lot. By the grace of God, In my brokeness, I became an invaluable instrument of healing for others. By this time, after my divorce, I gained a confidence that started as a tiny seed and grew and is still growing. My stuttering stopped and I was able to articulate in a logical, meaningful way. Something that I was never able to do. For that and a lot of other things, I feel so much gratitude for that horrible marriage and divorce because as I often say, this was the true beginning of my life. How could I harbor ill will towards my ex husband after that realization? Of course nobody I knew could understand that, especially my family.
So I come to my cancer. Devastating, right? Yes. I cannot say no. I have a great support system, but when you get down to the bottom line, you are alone on your journey. When I can’t talk to anyone, late at night, and when my 12 year old son is home on summer vacation, I make it a point not to be negative around him, because there are times when I lose the good perspective. I know this to be normal, but even though I’ve decided to not keep the cancer away from him, and that is virtually an impossible thing to do anyway, I don’t want to say anything to make him worry excessively. I’ve been upfront with him but I don’t want to overwhelm him with what I say and how I say it. We all can use these devastating challenges in our lives to teach and to learn. We are always the example to our kids and we must always be mindful of what and how we project our experiences onto them.
I’ve always had a preoccupation with death. This is not because I have cancer, though, the subject has come more to the forefront of my thoughts more frequently but not obsessively, thank God. When we do know that death is eminent, how do we die well and in the service of others? We comfort those we leave behind and give them a good example of death, a part of life. We let our loved ones know that we are okay with moving on. At this point, I have a very good reason to believe that I will not be dying from this cancer, though the battle required to beat this beast is undeniable. Death is such a taboo in this present “advanced” society. Nobody wants to talk about it and it’s a shame because maybe this is what we all need to get comfortable with the most and consciously make it a part of life. Why? Because death is unavoidable. It will happen to all of us. There is so much potential in developing this part of ourselves and being of service to others through it.
I believe that a major source for society drawing away from their mortality, is when society, at least in our Western Culture in the Untied States, is when we drew away from our elderly. Instead of taking care of those who have taken care of us and sacrificed their lives and maybe their own identities, we toss them to the side and abandon them to nursing homes well before that becomes a need. We’ve lost so much in doing that. The elderly have a wisdom beyond our comprehension and we toss that invaluable asset into the trash. Can you tell this bothers me a lot?
Cancer is so visible in our society. It seems like it pops up everywhere. Whether you are famous or the Regular Joe, the rich as well as the poor, everyone. The reason I write about my experiences is because it’s with the hope that maybe I can reach and resonate with just one person. More would be good, but one whether right now, or a future reader will make it all worth while. Oh it helps me, too. When I write, sometimes I am forming my own opinions, settling them in my head.
I fear that I went on a lot of tangents here but I felt that you need to know what my back-ground was and other facets because we all are made up of many facets. So from being an extreme introvert, I find myself now constantly putting myself out there. I can see how different parts of my past fit into my present life. I find that a blessing and I am grateful for ALL my experiences, all the bad as well as the good. Growth is painful.