Thanksgiving is almost here. Families will gather around the table to feast on delicious food prepared with love. Someone will pass the turkey, the stuffing and the potatoes. But don’t forget to pass a heaping plate of thankfulness.
Thanksgiving! What a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our lives and count our blessings.
Never have I felt more gratitude for so many reasons. Despite what would seem logical, I cannot overlook the very obvious life-changer element for me. A few days ago, these words leaked out of my mouth before I could stop them:
“I’m grateful for cancer.”
Does that sound crazy and impossible? A few months ago, I was angry and hated cancer. Why the change of viewpoint? Let me explain: Nearly every day since I’ve received my diagnosis, someone has shared with me healing words of encouragement, love, and support. We’ve had 19 meals provided for us in a 5 week period–some by friends and neighbors and others by complete strangers. I’ve received cherished hand-written letters and cards almost daily for over two months. We’ve received fruit bouquets to feed our bodies and nourish our souls. I’ve received meaningful jewelry, hand-knit scarves, gratitude journals, and care packages that took my breath away. In a culture that teaches us to compete and to be selfish, it’s been an amazing contrast. I’ve been afforded a rare opportunity to see the most beautiful and selfless side of human nature.
I am blessed. Moreover, I am changed for the better. I’ve been humbled to witness others with unspeakable pain and dire circumstances beam with gratitude. During this time, I’ve let go of my normal mind clutter. Worrying about eye wrinkles and other petty things suddenly feels very foolish…and small. How can I be upset about my misbehaving hair when I’m sitting next to a patient who has lost hers?
To be sure, cancer is still devastating to far too many people. I don’t want to imply that it’s glitter and unicorns. Cancer is difficult and scary and I’ve only faced one-tenth of what some others deal with regularly. Yet, even in this cancer darkness, there is light. Only during difficult times can we truly appreciate the strength required to overcome adversity.
Our vulnerability allows us to shine and that’s what brings us together. It connects us at a deeper level because we are raw and real.
I continue on this journey of learning and am ever aware of the amazing gifts I’ve been given.