My writer’s heart yearns for these days that are bright but dreary and I have no true plans, and yet when the times do come, my mind is blank like the white sky. Trying to gather all the thought-leaves that have already fallen this autumn, pen-rake in hand, collecting and examining each leaf.
It’s been 4 months since my last chemotherapy treatment. 4 months. 4 months?! That time seems so distant and yet still so close. It is so easy to bury the chemo-capsule of time, to simply forget in the midst of running earrands, catching the bus, making dinner. And yet, 4 months ago, I was not here doing these things, my body still in chemo-recovery (and at times still is.) And even crazier, looking back to one year ago and I would be in my 4th month of treatment. Oh my, time. How did that pass all so quickly and at the same time not quick enough?
In the mirror yesterday, I caught myself looking at my hair and Wow! I have so much of it now! I’ve watched it slowly sprout again from its chemo-winter, and its harvest shocking, more than I recalled and expected. I have hair!? Once again, one of those small details you don’t think about until later, and recalling all the new friends and people I have met this past year who have never seen me with hair. Oh, it is definitely strange run your hands over your head and feel soft, soft hair and to now remember to grab the shampoo in the shower. And yet, this small, newer joy will one day be gone and become ritual, average, normal again. A gardner’s miracle! Transforming once tulip bulbs hidden hair follicles under empty hair-fields now to rows of evergreens, forever hair-harvest that is constantly there, green-life through every season.
How do you balance remembering and living? How do you remember where you once were a mere 4 months ago (chemo submerged) to now, today where you are able to drive yourself to a coffee shop, enjoy tea without your stomach aching, writing and reflecting? Perhaps this is where the discipline of thanksgiving once again comes and is the answer to my long-term essay question to this life examination. Daily self-reminders of where you once were that are not morbit musings but instead reality reflections. Oh, because trust me, I could easily sit and depress myself and become anxious in thinking about the past and what could possibly happen once again. But I do want to recall the moments of growth, of healing and praise and thank Him for it. I want to remember my chemo-year and years past, to remember daily that I am yes, a cancer survivor and always will be, but I am more importantly able to champion through His Hope. Because now, when life is “easier” and more “normal,” that I am driving myself to coffee shops, enjoying Thanksgiving food without become sick, going to the grocery store, it is so easily to be swaddled into complaints of the minute, trivial life moments such as, “I wish I had caught that bus,” to “I wish this car in front of me would move.” These “complaints” were things I wished I was able to complain and be concerned about only a year ago. And really, when I think about it, back then I shouldn’t have been desiring to have those complaints either but instead the stable security of thanksfulness and gratitude that I can always have because in fact then and now, my home is not here but elsewhere.
20 our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Incredible how easily and quickly I forget this then and now! Then, during chemo-year more tangibly and real, constant physical reminders that this life is not right, this is now how it was supposed to be that bring me back to this Truth that is not founded on circumstances. Now, life swaddles you in its comfortability, assuring you that all things can be given to you in this life and its dangerously warm and seems true. Seems. But I can recall to myself that in a moment that could change and therefore world’s promises are false: a scan, a cell can alter your assured “dreams” and hopes from and for this world.
Yes, I am still learning and striving to live both in light of thankfulness then and living in now because of it. I cannot simply forget and foolishly deny my cancer past. What good would that do me? And yet, I do not want to unconciously forget either, to press down those thoughts under the early day life struggles and complaints, and then to have cancer-realities of scans and check-ups to suprise me and re-awaken those thoughts and re-bury again afterwards. There must be a balance, and the scale’s fulcrum might just be gratitude, gratitude.