“One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.”
― G.K. Chesterton
Pent house suites, mountaintop lodges, castles atop grand cliffs . . . the allure of high places is something we all crave to experience at one point or another. Top level retreats seem to indeed be sought out destinations of choice—the very essence of luxury.
When traveling to Santorini, Greece—John and I chose the breathtaking town of Oia to call home for the duration of our stay. The idea of staying in a traditional cave house carved inside volcanic earth was in and of itself—thrilling to the core. Add the fact that it’s panoramically set 1000 feet above the Aegean Sea—well, let’s say the feeling was nothing short of Utopia on steroids. The views coupled with the meandering narrow paths along the steep cliffs proved that though Oia is certainly not for the faint of heart, it is most definitely the choice destination for anyone seeking ultimate beauty . . . on high.
Recently, I’ve hit a low point on this pilgrimage called cancer, a point where time seems skewed, warped in fact. One moment everything appears to be moving in slow motion, then BOOM—time seems to be running full speed ahead. As if by magical “clockwork,” my emotions follow suit, stuck in vacillation-mode. One minute, I’m eager to have chemo in the rear view mirror, while a split second later I become crippled with anxiety about moving beyond chemo onto the next phase of treatment—desperate to stop time in its tracks.
Just hours from now, I’ll be infused with my final dose of Taxol, followed by 4 rounds of dose-dense A/C every other week— that lovely chemo cocktail better known as the “Red Devil.” How pleasant. Not exactly a happy hour beverage of choice. It would seem anything with the word devil tied into its nickname . . . can’t be good. As appealing as a free Brazilian wax may seem, if it means having someone gown up to stick a syringe of bright red poison into your vein . . . well, I guess I would have to say hair isn’t such a hardship. All joking aside, as eager as I am to be done with chemo, the thought of what awaits me on the other side is almost too unbearable to embrace just yet. Don’t get me wrong, I yearn for the fatigue, pain, neuropathy, malaise, and hairless head to be in my rearview mirror, but it’s hard to fathom the idea of surgery . . . that which will permanently change me. Forever.
I recall the goose bumps I got over those surreal cliffs in Santorini. Truthfully, those goose bumps never came while looking down at the “tiny” wonders more than thee football field lengths away at the bottom. Instead, they came when we were at the bottom—looking up.
The view from below always took my breath away.
Right now I stand somewhere at the base of my cliff in this cancer journey, longing for that destination on high. Why aren’t I looking up? Only here can I really see the hope and future blessing stretched out before me, the surreal beauty that might even take my breath away . . . if I let it.
Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:25)