We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.
I’ve missed you all. I’ve had “behind the keyboard withdrawals.” I find this wonderful forum or as I like to call it: my c-blog therapy sessions behind the computer, help to keep my spirit soaring as I express my heart. I won’t get into too many details about my computer drama causing my longer than normal absence, but let’s just say when the hard drive goes unexpectedly on your computer and you lose all your files and pictures because they weren’t properly backed up . . .big girls do, in fact, cry. Actually, they bawl.
As many of you can guess by now, I’m about as right-brained as one can get. As such, my scattered mind makes me more of a creative thinker than other, perhaps more organized folk. I’m wired by feeling and intuition as opposed to sequence and logic when gathering information. I tend to visualize the whole picture first then work my way backwards to fit the pieces together that create that whole picture.
Over the weekend, the boys wanted to rent a movie—one that in all honesty, I’ve had no interest seeing, despite all the acclaim it has received. Life of Pi was the chosen feature presentation and all I can say is that my initial “non-interest” turned to—WOW! I was truly blown away by every aspect of the film. Sadly, I’ve never read the book, a New York Timesbestseller that the movie is based on. Perhaps if I had known how incredibly rich in symbolism and full of deep truths this gem was, I would have read the book ages ago and been more than eager to see the movie. Actually, I’m usually not fond of endorsing movies based on novels, because often the film doesn’t live up to the book. However, book or no book—the movie was wonderful and moved me to tears.
Pi, the film’s protagonist, is a shipwrecked castaway that spent over 220 days at sea. This boy, in the face of unimaginable tragedy and inconceivable adversity, brings the viewer into a truly magical journey—weaving a fantastic story in the face of a cruel reality— the story, becoming his life vest of survival.
Do you ever notice that during times of great suffering and tribulation come unexpected, powerful moments that give meaning and purpose to life? Often these moments become the very necessary tools for survival. Pi’s storytelling became his means of survival. In fact, the Bengal Tiger in the life boat with Pi, is the symbolic side of him that though he wishes to escape from, he instead embraces, learning how to live in both opposition and partnership with it.
Though I refuse to be defined by it, breast cancer is unfortunately in my life boat whether I like it or not. Though I’m also opposed to embracing its hold on my life, the truth is . . . it’s real and I need to be in partnership with its place in my life, so I can positively bring hope and light to others who may be a castaway in the face of darkness.
My appointment on Friday was semi-optimistic and difficult all at once. The oncologist confirmed that what I’ve been feeling on my skull is real, discovering that in addition to the lymph node at the base of my skull, the bone above that area feels different because there is another lymph node on top of the actual bone. She honestly felt these areas were “normal” and not to worry about them because the size of the lymph nodes are not at a worrisome size. Meanwhile, the pathology report I’ve never actually held in my possession finally was printed . . . and honestly, that was more difficult to look at than I had thought. Though I have hope and trust in the plan laid out before me, the truth is the staging is a bit scary to look at in black and white.
The same earnest hope in the face of a cancer diagnosis still comes with the reality that there’s a bad side of breast cancer—not all “pretty in pink” as the awareness ads dangled in front of us make us believe. In fact, the reality is that in the U.S. alone, breast cancer death rates among women are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
Reality can indeed sometimes scare us . . . but it’s okay to acknowledge it and even talk about it, as long as it exists in partnership with God’s promises. Like Pi, I’m but a castaway on the open sea, ready to use this moment to produce an inspirational story of hope and survival that blesses many.
My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.