Why is it that the last day before the next round of chemo was such an unmitigated delight?
Why IS that?
Today I head back to the drip room for round three. Barb was going to come sit, but she’s down with some horrid disease, so Debbie and Kathy have coordinated to share their time with me. I told them I’d be fine alone, reading while they drip the stuff in for five hours. But they’re coming anyway.
They want to help. They want to help those they love who are facing sadness, or misery, trying to conquer impossible challenges, moving through grief. They want to help me. I’ve learned, over the past few months, what it feels like to be the recipient of such love. So much love I get choked up: A shower of love.
The lesson I’m learning: In the past, my fears have kept me from showing up when those I love are most in need.
I was one who has been too busy. Oh sure, I gave myself other excuses: Because I didn’t know what to say (or was afraid I’d say too much), I didn’t stop by to visit. Because we “weren’t all that close”. Because I didn’t think my caring would matter (and didn’t want to find that out), I didn’t reach out and call. Because I didn’t know what (food to bring) (flowers she liked) (time would be best) I didn’t just GO. Or else I visited once, but when chemo or grief dragged on and on, I got sucked back into my work-a-day world and let a friend travel her difficult path without me.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t write this post with shame. There are a TON of more personal reasons I could share that color the full picture of this shadowed part of my life. The coursework was laid out for me when I was two. God has offered many experiences to shed light on this darkened side of myself, and step-by-step I’ve been learning over my entire lifetime.
I was afraid I would “do it wrong”. I was afraid I wouldn’t matter. I was afraid. And, frankly, as an older adult I was irresponsible and I lacked courage. “Busy” was just how I avoided what really matters.
Now I know: Love Trumps Busy. You can put that on a sampler, but give me credit. It’s my hardest lesson learned.
Slowing down, as I have during treatment, I can hear the voice inside me more clearly, pointing out what I can do that could spread my love. And I find it’s no longer scary: I make more phone calls, send more cards and little gifts, post emails and blog entries.
Because I can’t plan as much, I don’t make lists that are as long. So I have more time for now. My time is my own: I need it for my healing…..I need more of it for myself….and I need it so that I can more fully share my heart with others.
After our 10 days of travel, Monday was BUSY with client work. I admit, I was a little frantic.
But yesterday, the day before chemo, I slowed back down to “my new pace”. I met with a couple clients and did my work. But I also swam laps and had breakfast with Kathy, took flowers to another friend, sent thank yous, wrote a few blogs of gratitude, counseled someone over lunch, listened to my husband as he confronts challenges that put mine own in perspective. Talked on the phone to my closest family members, reassuring them that I’m ready for round three.
Today I’m ready to drip all day. I’ve had a ton of emails from other women who’ve gone through cancer. Every single one has urged me to drop what’s unimportant and focus my attention on my own healing, my own needs. But the message behind their words is more subtle. This is the way life is. We ALL have needs. We ALL need to take care of ourselves. We ALL need to take care of one another. We ALL need friends, and support, and outstretched hands and flowers and casseroles and cards and unexpected drop-by visits.
In the past, I have kept myself too busy. No more. Thank you for every single hand that has been stretched in my direction, everyone that has knocked on the door of my heart. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.