Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Notes to Self

There are things I learned today.

Like -

Beet juice spilled on bare feet and a kitchen rug look like a crime scene.

Some people keep saying yes when they mean no, and some people keep saying no when they mean yes.  Therefore, there are some people whose words you must ignore and instead listen to what they do.

Whoever wrote the golden rule was kind and smart.   Jesus said turn the other cheek.  Buddha said Do No Harm.  Lord let me be an instrument of peace and be kinder than is necessary or expected, and with myself too.

You should not bring attention to the fact that your high school freshman cute boy has been texting you every day from school since school started because then the texts will stop and you will miss them.

It is good when this house is filled with all of us, there is no place I would rather be.

It gets really old strapping fake boobs on every day.

Dogs like it when you whisper sweet things in floppy ears, like "You are a good good dog.  I love you, you are a good good girl, good dog good dog."  Why don't we whisper into our people's ears the way we do our dogs?  "You are a good good person, I love you, you make me happy, you are good good good."  Why aren't we as soft with the people we love the way we are with our dogs?

Even though your girlfriend lives in LA and you hardly ever get to see her, you miss her more  when she is on her honeymoon and you know you can't talk to her.  Hope you are having a wonderful wonderful time Baby and hope the time goes super slow for you, but for me, hurry hurry home.  I miss you Mrs. and I want to hear EVERY DETAIL.

It's amazing how fast your car can turn around when you are on your way to work and your boss calls and says it's going to be slow, would you like to turn around and go home?

Squirrels play leap frog.  I saw it.  With my own eyes.

Cleaning up the kitchen is almost Zen like if you do it while listening to New Age music.  The dogs like it too.

There are some people you have to love from a distance to keep the love safe, from them.

Some people never realize how good they have it, and some people make good with whatever is sent.

Do not freeze a ripe banana with the skin on, cause trying to remove it to put the frozen banana in your smoothie is like something out of a porn movie.

Finches and their babies like butternut squash.

I wonder what I'll learn tomorrow.


Monday, August 29, 2011

breathless

My thoughts keep drifting back to the wedding.  Midge's wedding.

I can see her sitting in the makeup chair in her lovely room, looking absolutely petrified and beautiful, like a painting.  I knew I must do something radical to take her mind off that long long walk down the aisle.  So I flashed her.  Showed her my flat little deflated boobies.  A Maid of Honor's got to do what a Maid of Honor's got to do.  It's all for the cause Baby.

I can see her shimmy-ing her dress up over no show panties and getting into her backless plunging bra, and Bridesmaid and I, we helped her, and she looked like a dream, all floating and flowing in creamy satin, with a huge satin bow at the small of her back, and lips painted the deepest rose red I have ever seen.

I remember waiting at the front of the church, waiting to walk down the aisle just ahead of her, seeing her grab her father's arm, and hold on as tight as she could, as if she was going to walk into the eye of a storm.

I remember the way the Groom looked saying his vows, the sweet and earnest and committed look on his face, and I believed his every word.  I will remind her of this some day when she is really angry at him and has her suitcase on the bed, ready to pack.

Flashbacks of her red lips, red bouquet and red shoes under her ivory wedding dress.
The sweetest flower girl, dropping rose petals in the aisle.
Vows exchanged in a white steeple church, and thinking about the one I have worn out - "In Sickness and In Health."
Heartfelt toasts made by candlelight.
Bubbles sparkling in a fluted glass.
A red velvet wedding cake.
Many booty pats from Groom to Bride on the dance floor.

At the ripe old age of Fiddy Two, I was a Maid of Honor for the very first time, thanks to Midge.  It is some job I will tell you, and just before the wedding, a good Maid of Honor, I have decided, is part blankie, and mostly Security Detail and Bouncer.  "Out" I say, "All of you, Out Out, let us have our moment with the Bride and let the Bride catch her breath" and then I locked the door.  The three of us, Bride, Bridesmaid and I, held hands in our little chamber, and I said a prayer out loud for the Bride, and many more she did not hear, just triple checking God was near.

I have decided that Maid of Honor is a lifetime commitment, and must include whenever circumstances demand, reminding Bride of all the love and promises made on aforementioned wedding day.  I will remind her whenever she needs reminding.  It is my sacred duty to stand guard over all that love, knowing what I know, twenty five years into my own marriage.

There were so many incredible breathless magical moments at this wedding, when families were joined and healed all because two people fell in love.  Ahhhhh, there is nothing quite like witnessing up close all the love and tenderness and joy and giggly bliss of a Bride and a Groom.

My favorite moment though was not what you might expect.

It was of the Groom's Mama, my friend, Desertpirate, who just finished chemo for ovarian cancer, and believe me, it has been a hard hard road for her these last several months in treatment.  Yet there she was, just a day after her last infusion and a transfusion, kicking up her heels at the party.  I laughed my ass off when she changed her wigs throughout the evening.  I choked up later, when most of the guests were on their way home, watching as she changed into cowgirl boots, and was line dancing on an empty dance floor while the DJ played Taylor Swift.

I will never forget that image of her on the dance floor, with every step, present in her love of her life and her family.  I don't know why this Lady keeps thanking me when she is the one who inspires me beyond all measure.  As I watched her, I thought of the prayer I have said so many times "Lord help me love the life that is sent to me."  My friend is a shining example of that, and it forever changed me watching her take a huge delicious bite out of her life that night, despite everything.  Lady, you rock.

Dear Cancerless Reader,
You think you got troubles?  I'll show you trouble Honey.
You got heartbreak?  I'll show you heartbreak.
I don't want to hear it.

Live.
Love the life that is sent to you.
Laugh louder than the cryin.
Dance on your troubles.
and when you are called to rise,

Rise Baby.
Rise.

I need me some cowgirl boots.  Gonna get some.  Dance on my troubles.  Breathless.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.  author unknown

Monday, August 22, 2011

Holy Green Smoothie!!!

I told you about my green smoothie kick I've been on, right?  Now are you ready to hear how it has monumentally affected my health, this one easy thing I do every morning first thing?

At my last 3 month checkup in May with The Good Witch, my blood pressure was 154/90.  In the previous months and pretty much all through cancer treatment, it has fluctuated, but usually on the high side.  This number or thereabouts was not unusual for me, even before my cancer diagnosis.

Since shortly after that appointment, I started the whole green smoothie thang.  One every single morning, only missing a day or two here and there.

Wanna know what my blood pressure was at my Dr.'s appointments last Thursday and Friday?

Thursday - 113/68
Friday - 119/67

Holy Green Smoothie!!!!

What a simple, easy change, and I can't believe the difference in my blood pressure.  That is a huge huge drop, and it's probably the lowest my blood pressure has been for at least the last ten years.

I had hoped the scale would reflect as big a drop, but alas...  I do notice though my pants, even the usually tight ones, are looser.  In fact, I have a pair of tight jeans that after washing and drying are usually super tight and a little difficult to zip up.  I put them on, and no problem!  I've also noticed my rings are much looser on the fingers.

I'm telling you people, if you want to do one small thing towards your good health, smoothies are easy and so delicious!  You don't need to get a juicer, and although a Vitamix blender is great, a any good blender will do.

When I make one of my basic green smoothies, these are the ingredients I always include:

A handful of spinach, or a mixture of spinach and red chard;
A tablespoon of Chia seed;
A few squirts of Barleans Omega Swirl (I like the Blackberry Swirl);
Almond Breeze Vanilla Almond Milk;
Sweet Leaf Liquid Stevia (I like Vanilla Creme);
A heaping tablespoon of Greek yogurt;
A small handful of frozen berries that I keep ready to go in the freezer, usually a mixture of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

To this basic recipe, I often add fresh fruit, such as a whole banana,
or a peeled kiwi,
maybe some mango or papaya.

If the smoothie is too thick, I thin it with a little coconut water.

I buy the fruit at my local organic produce stand or Farmer's Market, then prepare most of it for the freezer.  I have devoted one basket in the freezer for my smoothie stuff so it's super easy to grab and blend.

I've read it's best to drink your smoothie on its own - 40 minutes before or 40 minutes after a meal, so that the nutrients and live enzymes can be quickly absorbed into your bloodstream.  It's the first thing I drink in the morning.  Sometimes the smoothie is my breakfast, other times I'll have breakfast a little later.

I'm telling you, you have to try it, just close your eyes when you sip, some of the smoothies are the ugliest color, but they taste SO DAMN GOOD.

Just experiment.  Today I bought some guava and prickly pear, I can't wait to try those.  Whatever is in season and looks good is what I throw in.  I'm going to stock up my freezer with all kinds of beautiful berries and fruit for during the winter months.


 




Most of these products can be found at a grocery store with a good health food section, such as Raley's, and of course Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

I have the fruit smoothie concoctions down - now I'm working on perfecting my savory smoothies.  I have one that's almost like V8, but better, using spinach, celery, cucumber, tomato, green apple, and believe it or not, fresh roasted beets.  I love the beets.  I've been roasting them, till soft, then you peel them (make sure your hands are in gloves or use a plastic grocery bag over each hand).  The beets are so so good and add great flavor and color.  Beware though, when you eat all these colorful fruits and veggies, your poop turns crazy neon, but you'll be pooping like a Rock Star!

Happy Blending!  Happy Healing!




Saturday, August 20, 2011

This Above All




The only reason that we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes.  Pema Chodron


I often wonder if it is coincidence or kismet when I find a quote that says just what I needed to hear.


I always considered myself a compassionate person, but this quote is so true.  I'll tell you, I see myself so differently now, clearly, compassionately, and it is changing how I move through the world.  The more you get right with yourself, it is as if your heart opens to a level of forgiveness and understanding and acceptance you did not have before, and the greater your courage to be yourself.


I want to share with you a little video my son made of himself a few days ago, and actually posted on his Facebook wall!  The video compilation was clips of himself from a few years ago.  He's thirteen now and just started his Freshman year in high school.








First of all, this kid makes me laugh like nobody's business, but more than that, I was astounded that he had the guts to post this video, at this usually awkward and self conscious age of 13.  I really got a kick out of that, and it made me feel good that he is so comfortable with himself, that he could be so transparent and fearless.  I love that.  I really do.  I hope he always feels this way about himself, and I told him so.


Every now and then I go back and read one of my blog posts, especially the early ones, and although I'm not dancing around the living room or making silly faces, I'm surprised at my candor and transparency.


I don't know which was a greater catalyst for change in my life, a cancer diagnosis, or the writing of this blog, maybe both together.


I am no braver than I was, it was already there.
I am no stronger, it was already there.
I am no smarter or funnier or wiser.


The difference is
every day
this has given me the opportunity
to get right
with me.


To see me as I am.


There is power in that.
Sometimes so powerful
it draws people to you.
Sometimes so powerful
it makes them run.
It makes them hide.


For most of my life, I was consumed with Becoming.


What moments of peace are found in Being.


I yam what I yam.  Popeye

Monday, August 15, 2011

What A Ride!

Hello to my adorable Lab Lady, who pampered, massaged, heated and coaxed my arm into giving blood today, with one stick!  I love you Lady, and how hard you work to make things easier for me!  I told her about Relay, and then realized, I had not come back and talked to you about it!

So I am backtracking a bit here, to tell you about the incredible Vallejo Relay for Life, that took place on Saturday, August 6th.  I don't think I slept for two nights after, so pumped up with love and connection and hopefulness!  I'm telling you, if you are a cancer survivor, you really must participate in your local Relay for Life event.  It is a life changer!  and even if you aren't a Survivor, it is such a great great event for the whole family, for such a worthy cause!

For some of you who may not know how The Relay works, it's basically a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society, where teams of volunteers walk a high school track for 24 hours, and raise money, participate in all kinds of fun things at the Relay, and my favorite part of the whole thing is the Luminary Ceremony.  It's when the track is lit with thousands of luminaries in honor of those battling cancer or Survivors, and in memory of those we lost to cancer.

The Relay traditionally starts at 9 am on a Saturday morning, with the opening introduction, and then the first lap around the track is the Survivors Lap.  This is so meaningful, and very inspiring to walk with other cancer Survivors, and I love seeing the balloons with really huge numbers written on them, signifying years of Survivorship!  I wanna be one of those some day!  The Vallejo Relay is incredible, so many participants and so many dollars raised!  It is a fantastic community event.

After walking the Survivors Lap that morning, I went over to the banner they make every year for the Survivors, where your hand is painted, and then you make a hand print on the banner and sign your name.  Just as I was about to do my hand print, a woman came up behind me with her Husband and asked "Are you Debbie?"

I turned around and said "Yes I am" and then she proceeded to introduce herself to me, (Hello Joan), and explained she was also a Survivor and had attended the National Cancer Survivors Day event in Fairfield, and had LOVED my speech.  She shared with me some of the things we have in common, which was very cute, then said she had something for me.

Out of her pocket she pulled a small handwritten note; it was a quote she said reminded her of me and she thought I might enjoy it, and hoped she'd see me at Relay to give it to me.  I was so touched by this, and here is the quote, provided by my new friend Joan:

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting -


"What a Ride!!"

Thank you Joan, so very nice to meet you and your Hubby (and see you both again that night at the Luminary Ceremony).  This meant so much to me, and yes, I love the quote, and mostly your thoughtfulness.  Thank you.

I was so nervous about the Luminary Ceremony, excited and nervous!  I decided to send the Good Witch an email before seeing her.  The subject line on it said "Can I take an Ativan :) " and I told her I was so anxious but thrilled we were appearing together!  She wrote back saying after watching the video of my Survivors Day speech, she sure hoped she was going first, and not following me!  I got a kick out of that.

Later that night when I was walking around at Relay prior to the ceremony, she spotted me, and we laughed again and hugged.  I sure love that Lady.  She gave a great speech and I was so happy and proud to be up there with her!  Kismet!

I just can't say enough about all the love shown to me after the Luminary Ceremony.  As I walked the track that night, I couldn't get but a few steps when someone new would stop me, to hug me, to talk to me, to tell me their story, to thank me, to tell me how much my words resonated with them.

I was very touched by the several different men who stopped me to tell me my speech had brought them to tears, and touched them deeply, as if they were confessing!  It was so cute.  I felt really good that I opened a door that they could walk through, showing their feelings that night, grieving their losses, in a place that is supportive and comforting and non judgmental.

As I walked the track I came up behind a family walking, and that's when I met Christine.  I could see from her bald head that she was in treatment and asked her that, calling out to her from behind.  "Hey Lady, you still in chemo?"

When she turned around, and saw my face, and realized I was that night's speaker, she almost squealed in delight and said "It's you, it's you, I LOVE YOU."  We held hands and jumped around in excitement and at one point her Hubby gave me a huge hug and thank you too.  Christine, if you are reading, I know we will see each other again, I felt such an instant connection with you, it was surreal, and I know you felt it too!  I know we will meet again, and I hope it's soon.



I always love meeting another Sister, it's one of the reasons I feel so strongly about attending support groups, chatting on the breast cancer message boards, and emailing with my Sisters.  It really helps, I can't stress this enough.  If you are a newbie, please please join a support group and/or go to a breast cancer message Board.  My absolute favorite Board is the Network of Strength (NOS) Y-Me Board.  Click here Sister (at the bottom of the site page is the Message Board).

It was such a great night at the Relay, and the love and affirmation that came my way was unbelievable.  There is something more though that happened to me that night, as I walked the track alone for awhile.  I started thinking about my hopefulness.  I realized that even with all my faith and optimism, I have still been weighed down by this lurking feeling about a recurrence or sometimes even secretly feeling resigned to one, and/or my early demise as a breast cancer statistic.  This is what the little voice sounds like:

You better prepare yourself Debbie.  This may not go well.  You have to be practical here, you were a Stage Three, you know.  That's not good.  Don't go getting your hopes up, cause if or when you are wrong, you'll just feel stupid.  Go on being hopeful and positive in front of everyone else, no sense in worrying them or bringing them down, but let's get real here, you could die from this shit, and you probably will.


As I walked the track, I realized I had been carrying this secret inner dialogue with me, and I decided, then and there, enough was enough.  Why can't I be hopeful?  Why can't I believe I will be a long term Survivor?  Could I really allow myself to believe the worst is already over, and that the cancer will never come back?  Why can't I believe that everything is going to be ok?  Why not?

With every step I walked that night, past thousands of luminaries and all the ones I made, I felt something happening to me, shedding that negative self talk, and allowing myself to want and hope for the best, regardless of the statistics, regardless of practical thinking.

What do I have to lose by being hopeful?

I don't know what will happen with me, I don't know why I've been thinkin I'm a fortune teller or a soothsayer, or secretly expecting the worst.  I don't know why I've been thinking that if I am hopeful then have a recurrence, somebody will come up to me and say "See, I told you Debbie, I told you, you never ever should have been so hopeful."

That's just stupid, isn't it?

I am going with optimism.
I am going with the belief that I am cancer free,
and will REMAIN cancer free,
but I will take that one step further
and add daily shots of
hopefulness.

With all that I have been through, with all that I endured, as I look back over my shoulder now, I see how my cancer diagnosis and treatment was like tilling the soil, getting it ready to plant AMAZING things, it was the grit that polished the pearl, and I am the pearl.

I have decided that hopefulness is not about a hoped for outcome.  It is the certainty that whatever happens is exactly what needs to happen, regardless of the outcome, in order to move me along this path, and bring me closer to these -

Blessings.
Grace.
Gratitude.
Wisdom.
Compassion.
Service.
Love.

Now when I talk to myself, and give myself a talking to, I remind myself that these are the givens - that my life will not go as I expected, and often I may not get what I asked for or wanted or thought I needed.
I have no control over what happens, and whatever comes my way.
I do know that whatever happens,
Angels and tools will arrive,
right on time.
I know this for sure.

Debbie, can you find a way to love the life that is sent to you, believing that every single piece is all part of some greater plan?

This is my practice now.

What a ride!  What a ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Satin Doll

I remember the way her beef stroganoff tasted, my favorite birthday dinner every year, with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with dill.
I remember her Lee's Press-on Nails, usually in some shade of coral.
I remember how she looked when she was sleeping.
I remember she thought I was funny and smart and a better version of her.
I remember the sound of her voice, scolding our cat Snowball, as she walked down the hall towards the bathroom, as he held on to the hem of her terry robe and was dragged behind.
I remember the sound of her fake nails clicking on the organ as she played.
I remember watching her put make up on, and especially loved during the 60's, when she wore thick black eyeliner and very poufy hair.
I remember when she took cupcakes to my brother's class on Halloween, in a gorilla suit.
I remember the way her hand writing looked, and how my name looked when she wrote it.
I remember when she told me about the birds and bees, in 7th grade, and I asked a whole lot of questions and she candidly answered every single one.
I remember her scream on my 5th birthday as they announced our President, John F. Kennedy, had been assassinated.
I remember when her name was on a marquis in Las Vegas, right below Wayne Newton's.
I remember the summer we spent without the boys, when she took a gig in Ventura, and she and I lived in the Holiday Inn right on the beach, and she bought me the only bikini I ever owned, and it was tie-dyed.
I remember the sound of her inconsolable crying many nights after her Mother died.
I remember her coming to my rescue and teaching me how to drive a stick-shift after I got so nervous with my Dad that I backed onto the neighbor's dichondra lawn.
I remember the way she used to say "Oh Deb..." all wistful and affectionate and like a sigh.
I remember how her voice sounded so small the night she died as she lay on the bathroom floor of my apartment, when the fireman asked her "What's your name honey?" and she quietly said "Nancy."
I remember how much she loved cake, and mistakenly ate the top of our wedding cake which was in our freezer while we were gone on our honeymoon because she didn't realize it was tradition to save it for the one year anniversary.
I remember the night she brought a puppy home in the pocket of her trench coat.
I remember her stories of growing up in Staten Island, in a big house with her beloved family and Big Gram and a cat named Peetie, and how Big Gram would not move to California with them because she wanted to die in New York.
I remember she always dreamed of living in Connecticut or going to Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod.
I remember when she lost a lot of weight due to her cancer, and there were some people who didn't know the reason why and when they commented on how great she looked and how did she do it, she'd say "The Cancer Diet."
I remember what she sounded like singing Boy From Ipanema and Windmills of Your Mind, and my favorite Satin Doll.
I remember in the weeks after she died, picking up a ringing phone still believing it was her on the other end.
I remember what she looked like dead, just like she did when she was peacefully sleeping, and I held on to her and whispered in her ear "I love you Mom.  I love you.  Everything's gonna be ok."

She never saw me pregnant.
She never heard my children's cries or laughter.
She was not there when I cried their first day of school, or when the eldest graduated high school, or the youngest Middle School.
She would never know about my cancer diagnosis, and all that came with that.

Today is my Mother's birthday, Nancy Diane, and I am missin on her tonight.  She was 46 when renal cell cancer took her life and broke our hearts, twenty one years ago.

I love you Mom.  I love you.

Everything's gonna be ok.

your deb

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Luminary Ceremony - Vallejo Relay for Life, 8/6/11

I have so much to tell you about this year's Relay, what an amazing event, and what a magical night.  I haven't really come down from it yet, but when I do, I will write and tell you all about it.

In the meantime, here is the video of my speech at the Luminary Ceremony.  Thank you to Husband for shooting the video, and son Robin for downloading it to Youtube for Mommy.



Until there's a cure.

Amen.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Let's Relay!!!!!!!!!!

Today is the day folks, and I walked the Survivors Lap this morning, kicking off our fabulous Vallejo Relay for Life!!!  Tonight is the Luminary ceremony and I am the Survivor Speaker, and following me is The Good Witch, my lovely and loved oncologist!  What a team we make!

I will be posting photos and possibly some video later, but just wanted my Sistahs to see the luminary made for all of you!  Now don't be hurt if your name is not on it, I did it from memory, and yikes, I'm sure I probably left someone really special off!

Either way, a candle will be lit tonight for all of you, my beloved Sisters on the NOS message Board.  I never ever in a million years could have gotten through this last year without all of you!

My Sisterhood of the Cancerous Breasts, when one reaches back for me, I reach back for another!

I love you Sistahs!!!!!!!!!!!!

your writergirl that dreams




p.s. I have raised $940 of my $1,000 goal, and it's not to late to donate to my Relay efforts.  Just click on the link and you will go directly to my page!


LOVE LOVE LOVE

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3 Days Left Till Relay for Life, ACS

I am calling all fellow bloggers, calling all faithful readers of my blog, calling all my Sisters of the Sisterhood of Cancerous Breasts, calling anyone who has been hurt by cancer,

I need your support.

There are only three days left until the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and I am only halfway towards my goal.  I've received $500 in donations, and I know, even with only three days left, I can reach my goal of $1,000 for ACS.

The ACS programs really helped me, and I know they helped a lot of you.

The minimum donation is only $5.  Please click on the link and support me, as I support ACS in all their vital programs for cancer patients and their families.

Only three days left, and I need a really big push!

Come on Bloggers!!!  Come on Sisters!!  Come on Faithful Readers!!

Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Click on this link to go directly to my Relay page and donate!

If you are in the area, please join us this Saturday August 6th at St. Vincent's/St. Pat's High School in Vallejo.  The Survivors lap starts at 9 am, the Luminaria Ceremony at 9pm (I am the Survivor Guest Speaker), and the closing ceremonies and releasing of doves starts at 8:30 am Sunday morning.

Please help, just $5 bucks from a whole lot of you will help me SURPASS my goal!!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don't Even Tell Me You're Crying Again

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  It's the negative self talk in my head when I am talking about something cancer related and I start to cry.  Sometimes it just happens in a conversation, out of nowhere, when I least expect it, I choke up, and it throws me.  It has happened during my speeches; there are a few things I say that always make me cry.  One of them is:

When cancer happens, it happens to the whole family.

At the last appearance I made, I could feel myself choke up during the speech, and my negative self talk was going crazy:

Get a grip Lady.
Cry baby.
Why do you have to feel everything so deeply?
Aw geez, you aren't cryin AGAIN are you?
Don't make a fool of yourself.
Don't embarrass yourself.
What will people think?
Don't upset them.
You are supposed to be strong and inspirational,
not Debbie Downer...
Don't even tell me you are crying again.

As I was standing at the podium talking, and could feel my throat get tight and fought back tears and lost, this scolding was going on in my head.

Then a couple days ago, I remembered something that happened at the speech.  You ever have that happen, where you have recall of something you didn't notice at the time?

I remembered when my voice cracked with emotion, there was a couple in the audience, sitting right up front together; she was obviously the cancer patient and he the caregiver.  When I started to cry, I saw the man gently reach over and place his hand on top of hers, give it a pat, and I could see the love and the grief they held back a moment before.  He left his hand on hers for the remainder of my talk.

I keep thinking about them, and I feel so grateful tonight for this recall, and wanted to share this story with you.

I know my words and my tears literally moved him, his hand on hers an affirmation, for her, for me.

Lord, God of Compassion,
give me the vision to see who needs your touch,
and Lord,
give me the strength
to give myself permission,
to fearlessly be my most fragile self
as I put a face
and a voice
on all the ways
cancer hurts.

Amen.

Open Every Door

I love this prayer I read today.

God of compassion, give me vision to see who needs your touch today.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

There is a hidden beauty and mystery to suffering, I have found.

It opens you to compassion like you have never known in your life.

This is how I feel now.

Every where I go.

Every thing I do.

Every day.

I am awake

in a world of sleepers.

Not knowing when dawn will come, I open every door.  Emily Dickinson
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