Dancing in the Rain – August 8, 2013

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass . . .                 It’s about learning to dance in the rain!”

I am now dealing with a recurrence of cancer… we thought we had it beat two years ago, but it sneaked back into my body.  Okay, we’ve dealt with it once before, we’ll deal with it again.

A friend asked how I’m doing, and I replied, “I’m learning a lot.”  But he persisted and asked, “What are you learning?”  And ah, that turned out to be a difficult question. 

Many people with a life-threatening disease will say, “I learned to appreciate every moment,” or “life has become more intense,” or “I learned to say I love you to family,” and a things like that.  But I have had the gift of living all my life “in the now,” with an intensity of awareness of every moment.  I always live in a state of appreciation.  Every time I drive home (several times a day) I say, “Thank you God that I live in such a beautiful place.”  I look around and never take the extraordinary beauty of the forests and lakes where we live for granted.  It is my nature.  So, while I haven’t “learned” those things from the cancer that is attacking me, I do continue to live that way.

*   *   *

One thing I’ve learned is that I have an astonishing support system.  First, my husband has been my rock.  He can’t do enough for me and, believe me, a protocol like this demands a great deal from a mate. 

Then, during the first bout of lymphoma, my son and his wife made the decision to move to our town because they felt they couldn’t get to me quickly enough in an emergency (there were other reasons, too, but they said that was primary).  That taught me something about the depth of their love! 

              And in our community, oh my gosh, people have done so much for us!  Meals come in several times a week.  People walk and feed our dog when we have to be away with medical stuff all day.  One friend lent me a laptop so I can continue to write and do client work while in my various hospital stays.  Others offer to drive us to Seattle for special treatments, even when sometimes we have to be there at dawn!  (Most treatments are close to home, but for some, I have to go to Seattle.)  Others have come to do our yard work and tend our garden.  One friend actually flew up from California to be at my side for what was the toughest week.   What an unforgettable gift!!!

              Really, it’s overwhelming, the expressions of care coming from so many.  So, I guess I’m learning that I am loved!

 I’m also learning about how God works with us through situations like this… how he shows that he is with me in so many different ways, so I don’t feel alone.

 And… this is interesting:  I’ve learned that my happiness does not depend upon my circumstances.  I have a terrible disease, but still I feel joy and happiness.  Would I prefer not to have it?  O, yes.  There was an initial stage of disappointment when the cancer came back, a slump in my spirit.  But even then I never got into the “Why me?” nonsense.  I look around.  At friends.  At the church prayer list.  At the news on TV.  And I see so many people – so many! – suffering much more horrible things than I am.  Stuff happens.  Why should I, or anyone, be exempt? 

Then, after a short while, there came peace, and a return of my natural spirit.  Fear subsided (fear is a living death) and I feel alive again.  I feel joy and happiness.  How?  I can only surmise it is a gift from God.  He is with me in this.

  Today, it’s a glorious sunny day and I wish I were walking outdoors, around the lake, but instead I’m writing from the hospital where I’m getting another cycle of chemotherapy.   Oh well, I’ll walk next week.

 While we’re on the subject, what have you been learning lately? 

07 Dec I 3

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3 thoughts on “Dancing in the Rain – August 8, 2013

  1. I’m just at the end of Twelve Stones and I have found it to be an amazing journey…thank-you for sharing your life…My nephew recently married a Jewish woman who’s family is from Russia…I surrendered my life to Christ in college and was highly influenced by Francis Schaeffer’s writting especially Art in the Bible..my first Christian Book after the Bible. I’m looking for connecting points..bridges into the life of my nephew and his new bride and her family…I know prayer is foremost..as I plan now to keep you and you current circumstances in mine as well…I’m thinking of getting them a copy of your book…If you have any other suggestions or insight please share them with me…keep dancing…you are inspiring me…thank-you, thank-you, thank-you…Parmita

    1. Thank YOU for your comments…it is such an encouragement to know my book connected with you… and thank you for your much appreciated prayers! It’s lovely you want to share the book with your nephew and his wife. I hope it brings something to them, too!

  2. Dear Barbara…..Since moving away from you almost a year ago I’ve lost touch with how you’re doing. I’m sorry I haven’t kept more in touch with you. I am even more sorry to hear about the recurrence of your cancer. I will be praying very hard for you as you go through this valley once again.

    My family has had to learn this past year how to “dance in the rain” as well. Last June my father passed away after a fairly short but progressive time with Alzheimer’s. He was our spiritual mentor, a retired minister who prayed without ceasing for all of us. Then during his illness, he would pray all day long out loud….somehow I knew he was aware he was “going away” and he was asking God not only to help him get through but to be with his loving family as they endured the slow loss of what once was a very vibrant man. Watching my Mom attempt to go on without him after never being away from him for 61 years has been a sad and lonely journey for her. But our faith in the Lord has sustained us all…..especially Mom.
    Then this past July my older brother joined my Dad in Heaven after an 8-month bout with pancreatic cancer. He was only 63 and had taken the place of spiritual mentor after Dad passed. He too was a minister and left behind a loving wife who’d never been apart from him for 41 years. Once again our faith was tested. The loss of both of them within a year seemed too much for us to bear. We were reminded of that scripture that says, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord…” But through it all, He has been faithful to all of us. Slowly healing our broken hearts and giving us a new resolve to carry on as they would want us to. We could not have made it through without Him.

    So, Barbara, while “learning to dance in the rain” is a very difficult journey, the Lord is our refuge and our constant source of strength. He loves us like none other and will never leave our side. God bless you for sharing your journey and for giving encouragement to others who truly need to hear your words of strength and courage. I miss our coffee times…..I will try and stay in touch more.

    Love and prayers,
    Rhonda

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