days 18 & 19.

Honestly, what is the most that I feel during chemo week? Anxious.

And I’m not anxious for the chemotherapy, but because it makes me feel anxious as a side effect. I’ve been warned that one of the drugs drugs me into its anxieties, multiplies my cells’ energy level it seems of their nervous energy.

I also get anxious as I slip into its sand pit, drugs slide me into their deep sands of worry and doubt and ultimately of self-absorption.

I don’t want to be self-absorbed.

It’s funny, because no matter how tired my body gets physically from the chemotherapy, but brain and mental state always seem to be humming, tumbling thoughts that just get trapped and stay there in their cage as I don’t move, have enough energy at times to just act on them, even if they are simple as: checking my car for a lost item, brushing my teeth, eating food.

What?

Chemotherapy castes my heart it seems of solid metal, preventing it from understanding and steeping in real truth, real wisdom.

Truth is indeed deeper and more powerful than any of this chemo medicine, even though when I look at the IV needle and see just how deep it goes, feel it go, that the medicine’s felt power is greater than His power. How I sometimes wish for an IV drip of His Words that could plunge deep into my soul, my heart, to resisitate me. Somewhere inside me believes this medicine, this treatment will overcome my very soul and cut me off from deep, deep understanding. And yet, His words promise to be life-giving.

But recall, o my soul: gratitude.

I’m telling you, this Psalms class I am taking is just so timely. Sometimes a bit too timely if you ask me. Once again, last night I listened to the teacher Lee reveal for us the importance of gratitude and how gratitude is shown throughout the Psalms of the Word.

I was totally not grateful in that moment and knew it. And how do you develop that sense of thankfulness when it literally does seem all your thoughts, worries and circumstances align you in every other direction, looking horizontally to the right and left instead up vertically up?

I realized in that moment: I cannot create it on my own.
Help me to embrace gratitude, please.

Even if it a mere moment of gratitude, it is enough to restart my heart, to have a small flick of metal to be peeled away from my heart and to simply listen and meditate on that moment of gratitude.

I am grateful for the sun setting.
I am grateful for the experience of the car ride, with my father, to this class.
I am grateful he is willing to drop me off, to always be willing to take me places and help me with anything practical.
I am grateful my roommate Jess is next to me, leaning agaist me, as we learn together in class.
I am grateful for Lee’s honesty in his own heart-struggles for gratitude.
I am grateful Jess is willing to drop me off.
I am grateful for lavendar-vanilla candles.
I am grateful for un-interrupted rest by my body.

I still have much to learn when it comes to gratitude, but I am learning the deep importance of how it helps to realign our thoughts, to re-orient ourselves, to remind us to be humble. Nothing truly comes from me, from within me. Only from Him can anything be created, endured and sustained.

In the Psalms class, we have to create a personal psalm based off the Hebrew literary style and “type” (which this week would be gratitude.) I haven’t written any poetry since I was literally 17 because I was forced to in a Creative Writing class. Poetry was actually the first format of creative writing I explored, experimented that I tried to develop on my own when I was about 12/13 years old. But when I was introduced to creative non-fiction (ie, this blog would count as such) I think I found my voice, my thoughts more within that style.

However, forcing the write personal psalms for this Psalm class is indeed one of my favorite activities, linking me and connecting me back to the inspired writers of old, reminding me that their God and my God are the one and the same, and that their human thoughts and my thoughts are similar, that the Lord is the Provider, that He is the Rock and Refuge still back then and now.    

Personal psalm of gratitude.

In the midst of all this suffering,
I still see your glimpses of love and salvation.
I recall, remind, tell my soul to praise you and your Holy Name.
Your hands have lifted me up from the depths of my depression and my diseases
not just once, not twice but three times now,
and You in Your faithfulness will continue to sustain my life.
I do not know why You continue to save my life from my diseases again and again and again
and for what purpose I do not know
and may not know until I am with You,
staring directly into Your face
holding onto Your hands that lifted and held me
and together then we will recall all these moments and why You used me and saved me.
Until then Lord,
I will trust in You and praise You while I am separated from You
by own flesh.
I will recall, remind, tell my soul to praise you and your Holy Name
for all the goodness and favor you evidently show me, around me.

I wrote this upon continous reflection of one part of this psalm that I listen to often. A good reminder indeed for a call of praise and thanksgiving amongst all He has done for us and continues to do for us.

psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Gratitdue, gratitude.
Our souls need it for re-orientation.
Help us, help us.

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