Bonfires and Bluejeans

Randoms from my spot next to the fire

Finding the Joy…in the Sorrow

on September 9, 2011

        This past year has been full of some of the highest highs and lowest lows in my personal life; naturally an emotional girl like me is going to try and find some hidden, deep meaning and purpose in it all.  Spending the extra time that I have on the road these last few months driving back and forth to my mom’s (story to follow~one of the major lows) has given me extra time to think and reflect.  Maybe it’s the early mornings, or the life changing events, or too much coffee, but I have really been thinking a lot lately about how in the last year my perspective on everything has been changing.   

          As cliche` and downright goofy as this is going to be, and as much as I seriously wanted to avoid sounding like a cheesy self help book, something that I can’t get out of my head is how much my attitude has shifted this last year.  Not that much has changed in my circumstances…there are still rough days in the same situations that I faced a year ago.  But where some things resolved themselves, other things developed.  That, in itself, is the nature of life.  (Please refrain from breaking into the “Circle of Life” song now…cause I just did.)  The difference?  I have so much more joy.  I have found an indescribable love; in turn I have found an accepting love for myself that has never been there before.  Along with the love and support and freedom I have found with this love is the ability to trust in God that no matter how badly things might look, I am never alone and there will always be something positive to find….some kind of joy in the sorrow.  

            This principle was really laid out for me recently on my most recent trip back home to be with my mom during her latest round of chemo.  I reluctantly drug myself out of be around 5:30 in the morning, quickly jumped in the shower to wake up and get ready and start the nearly 2 hour drive home.  If you’ve never sat in a large room full of cancer patients receiving chemo at the same time, it’s really nothing to rush home for.  But I knew I needed to be there for my mom, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.  Funny thing happened though.  Instead of begrudgingly dragging myself out of bed, grumbling about how early it was, listening to the alarm rage, I was slowly woke up by the sweetest kisses and words.  After thanking God for the amazing blessing He’s given me by sending me the WGB (world’s greatest boyfriend), I left the house, in the dark, and opened the truck door to hit the road.  What do I find in the truck?  A fresh bouquet of beautiful, fresh flowers.  Driving along on the turnpike, the sun begins to rise.  I was blessed to witness one of the most beautiful sunrises I have seen.  Normally, I am not awake early enough to catch a sunrise.  Most people who know me well would say I’m not so much of a morning person but I believe that God really had a field day up there that morning cause it was beyond beautiful.  All of these little details of my morning might seem so insignificant to anyone else but me; the joy they brought during a time of struggle and sorrow is very significant.  God has a way of working that, in hindsight, is far beyond anything we can ever comprehend sometimes, and in ways we need at just the right moment.  These little pieces and bits of joy that morning may seem so small that others may overlook them; but I was grasping.  I knew, at some deep level, that I was going to need them.  I’ve also really began to cherish them…I know that in the future, regardless of how things turn out, with the highest of highs and lowest of lows, there will come a time I will need to rely on them.  
Me and Momma
Mother’s Day 2011

          Going to a cancer care center is bittersweet.  On one hand, it’s a place where patients get better.  On the flip side of that coin it’s a place that makes them very, very sick.  It had been several weeks since I had been there with my mom; my siblings and I rotate and share the time there with mom.  The people that I had met the last time I had been there for her treatment had shown a marked difference, both in appearance and spirit.  Even though it had been, at most, 3 weeks, the physical changes were profound in a few of the patients.  The hair loss was the most obvious change in many; some had even made humorous comments about their bald heads and living with the new changes.  Some had a new greenish yellowish tint to their skin, signaling a downturn in their condition.  There are people old and young, men and women, common and some very rare cancers.  Patients tell stories like I would imagine war vets of wars past would sit around and talk about their scars and quietly talk about long recoveries and learning the new normals of a life after war.  All of this to say that the range of emotions a person feels while sitting there, hour after hour, watching and listening to everything around them is overwhelming at best.  The deflating time, as I call it, on the drive home can be extremely emotional and teary.  But I digress.  Going with the joy in the sorrow theme I had been trying to focus on that particular day, I made it a point to remain positive and not let the emotion of the situation bring me down.  Yes, it was possible that my mom would be one of the ones that could go downhill, and fast.  Her cancer is pretty advanced and particularly aggressive.  I’m not naive; one of my personality traits is having to know the reality of a situation.  Knowing that 1 out of 3 women survive to 5 years isn’t the greatest odds; but it’s something.  The joy in this sorrow?  She’s still here.  She can be that 1 out of 3.  She is a very strong woman who has made it through a lifetime of challenges that would put many people out of commission…and she’s still kickin’.  With a very strong and spunky attitude too.  With every drip of the chemo and every push of the medication into her arteries, it’s one more cancer cell that is being attacked.  Yes, one more good cell and organ being damaged.  But with every drip is life, and with that life is one more second she is here.  That is the joy of this sorrow.

           Cancer sucks.  But there is good that comes from the pain.  There is always joy is the sorrow we are in…if we choose to look for it.



2 responses to “Finding the Joy…in the Sorrow

  1. Anonymous says:

    Love you, my sweet, sweet, daughter! I look forward to the day when we are some place other than a cancer center, but treasure each moment I have with you and Rhonda & Nathan & my precious grandchildren! Sometimes, it's the least pleasant events that have the most treasured memories. We're half-way through and on our way to better times!

  2. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing person your mother must be. She has raised (and probably continues to raise) three amazing children. I'm sure her resilliance has been distributed through the bloodline to you, your siblings and the "precious grandchildren." She is beautiful and I know that God has healed her of the cancer. Sincerely the best to you and your family. Thank you for sharing.

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