Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm OK...I'm not OK...I'm OK

The title pretty much sums it up.  My emotions are in "roller coaster mode" and just when I think I've got it all together, the least expected thing makes my tears come. 

This weekend was a wonderful one for virtual "word hugs" from friends.  If you are ever wondering what to say to someone in this same journey (or a different journey),  just take a lesson from my friends:  let this person know that you care, that you are there for him or her, and you want to be able to do something to help.  That's all that's needed and it will make a difference to that someone and soothe the feeling of aloneness that the cancer or other fears or hard circumstances bring. 

Today there were ladies at our church who have gone through some difficult times which made their lives very broken until they entered this special place where they faced their demons and opened themselves up to forgiving themselves, looking outside themselves to others, and bringing God in to accomplish all this.  It is always a powerful Sunday when they come, and for me, it just tied up the weekend in a neat package of  "God Sends Help Through Others!"

Like all of you, I feel good about my relationship with most people.  It's the people that are hard to be close to that I have a problem with and I need to work on that.  I remember one mentally challenged individual who would come to our church after worship to attend Coffee Hour.  It was hard to watch him as he grabbed food and piled his plate with enough to feed a family of 10, talked with his mouth full, spit food all over the table and people near him, and keep shoving food in his mouth before he could swallow it all.  (Yeah, not too many people wanted the chairs next to him...and I was one of them!)  Then there are the "talkers"... people who start a conversation with you (usually about themselves) and after 20 minutes still haven't stopped for a breath.  You find yourself desperately seeking  some excuse or option for making your exit.  (It often entails calling someone else over and then leaving quickly.  The "talker" never skips a beat, and just continues).  And then, there are the people like me who are going through some hard stuff to talk about and you don't know what to say or how to act.  I'm here to tell you not to worry about it so much.  Just walk over, smile, and let your heart do the rest.  Take the lead from that person because it might be the time to talk about his/her difficulties....or maybe they just want a vacation from talking about it for a while and so glad you stopped by.  And....if that person does cry because of something you said....don't feel badly, but know you have said something that touched that person's heart at a time they needed it.  Tears are not the enemy...they are just a release from a strong emotion and if there was ever a time for strong emotions, I think cancer is one of them!  

I once had this saying on my bedroom mirror:  "My greatest fear is that there is no PMS and this is my real personality."  It just struck me funny and reminded me to not take my mood swings too seriously.  When the oncologist mentioned that mood swings might be a part of my life once again, I wanted to tell her that this "swinging" had already begun.  And I just never know when I will be OK....or not OK.

I am right now in the "golden limbo land" of pre-chemo cocktail party...before the chemicals mess with my body for good and for bad.  I can talk about chemo in this odd detached way because it is not a part of my personal history so I have no knowledge of how my body will react (again, OK and not OK).  I'm already playing with scarves to tie them into intricate bald-head-hiding masterpieces, and getting all kinds of hints from other chemo patients past and present about what helped them get through it.  And I have a great mastectomy friend waiting in the wings for the time when I will lean on her for her experiences.

So, today is just all about the realization that God doesn't choose to give certain people cancer or other diseases or have bad things happen to us.  Nor does He heal some people, and not others.  Instead, He sends us other individuals who come to fill in the cracks between "I'm OK and I'm not OK". a "crack-filler" or one of God's angels for someone you know or encounter today.  And, you know, they just may cry or change the subject, but they will love you for taking the time to acknowledge them.  OK?

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