If there is a honeymoon stage to the cancer journey, ours is over. Crude, raw reality has arrived and made its presence known. I saw it come in the front door, take its shoes off and sit down in my living room. The nerve!
It is not pretty.
It is certainly not welcome.
But deep down, I knew this would have to come at some point. Whether sooner or later, the point is, it comes to everyone. It is part of the journey that everyone has to face. And I have realized it is a critical point in the walk.
How will I respond in the face of this ugly, unwanted, cruel reality? I can´t change it. I can´t get rid of it. I don´t like it. I can´t quit. I can´t forget about it. I can´t move far away from it. I somehow must learn to live with it. This is acceptance - not acceptance in a ¨giving up¨ sense, but acceptance in ¨cooperating with reality¨ sense.
We have heard a lot of ¨advice¨ on this already:
¨You have to be strong for your daughter; don´t let yourself fall!¨
¨She´s going to be fine, just keep thinking positively.¨
¨Just declare she is healed!¨
¨I have no idea how you´re still standing; you´re amazing.¨
I don´t feel amazing. I just feel tired. She is not yet healed, so why would I say what is not true? That seems like a Christian form of denial. I believe she can be healed with all my heart, and I will keep asking for that. But until she is, I won´t say she is. As for positive thoughts, I do ask God to help me focus on His good movement and blessings around us in the midst of this because much of this battle is in the mind and that focus is helpful. As for being strong for my daughter, Yes! I work on that everyday but I also choose to let myself ¨fall¨ in front of her or with her when sad or overwhelmed...sharing those tears & emotions is releasing and an important part of embracing our own humanity in all of this.
Why do I feel the need to explain myself to people? Perhaps because they are constantly saying these kinds of things to me, to us. And actually, it is helping me to develop my own kind of Reality Theology:
1. This reality is real and it is ours.
2. We don´t have to like it.
3. We must deal with it.
4. God is with us & still remains ¨a very present help.¨
5. Coming to terms with reality is one stage of the journey common to all.
6. We must find a way to accept this difficult reality while fighting it at the same time.
7. We are in charge of carefully choosing our weapons for this valley.
8. We are free to both fight and embrace our humanity at the same time.
I want to be like David, a strong warrior in every sense when it was appropriate and a tender, honest poet & lover of God who unashamedly poured out his raw emotions before God and man. He was both things & I totally love and admire that.
Would you pray that God would call forth from within each one of us the Tender Warrior inside? That He Himself would be our Personal Trainer in this Arena of Reality each day, teaching us, reminding us, strengthening us, letting us grow in our self-permission to be real at each moment of struggle, sharpening our skills to be all we need to be at this stage of the journey.
Life really starts here & now...just like real life starts for the couple when the honeymoon ends. The honeymoon is necessary - but it doesn´t last forever. It is just preparation for real life - where it all starts to really count...where we really live what we know to be true.
Isn´t that, after all, really living?
Photo by: AlicePopkom