I have been on a journey for awhile. Even as I say it, I laugh to myself and out loud because we are all on a journey. That’s what life is about. We are all on a journey to finding ourselves and losing ourselves. It really is quite amazing if at the same time it wouldn’t be so damn depressing. I look at all the lessons everyone is learning or trying to learn at any one given time and sometimes I am extremely overwhelmed by it all that I just want to pull the covers over my head or just sit and eat chocolate cake. Then I remind myself that the lessons of someone else are not mine to take on or to even read the cliff notes on. I need to let their lessons be their lessons and do my own work.
I have admittedly been struggling with doing my own work. I feel like I actually fell off the planet for a period of time. Most of everything that has happened in the last few years seems unreal, like a painting that I can see and feel and yet somehow I don’t believe that the scene depicted has actually taken place. I have gone through the fire of a divorce that I am not yet completely healed from although time, perspective and some distance from the man I once loved and called my husband has provided some salve. Just like any hurt or pain I now carry a scar. A reminder of what once was and can never be again.
I also carry other scars with me., tokens of battles hard fought. Not long after being divorced I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my doctor recommended a double mastectomy. My first initial reaction was to do nothing. No one could tell me whether this cancer, these foreign cells would continue to grow and at what point or if they were to metastasize. Selfishly I liked my breasts. They weren’t anything spectacular. They were in fact very small. But hey they were mine and I liked the fact that they felt like mine.
Two things really propelled my decision. When my oldest daughter thought I might not do something she cried and told me that she needed me which of course broke my heart. The other thing was that I thought about all the other women in this world who didn’t have a choice, that fought the good fight and lost or their cancer was found too late and there was nothing that could be done. It seemed like a disservice to their memory, to their battle and to the loved ones they may have left behind for me to do nothing.
So after I was given the advice from my physician and the research I had done I opted to have the double mastectomy done and to have breast implants. It by far is the scariest thing I have ever done and also the most painful and I am not a wimp when it comes to pain. I would not wish this on anyone. And for me it wasn’t just about the pain, it was about not being able to do things for myself and having to rely on others. That has never been my role. I am the one taking care of others. I didn’t know how to let anyone take care of me, at least not very well. When you watch a movie about a woman with breast cancer you might think they are exaggerating. At least when I did my thought was it can’t be that bad. Guess what? It really is that bad. I couldn’t lift my arms above my head which meant I couldn’t dress myself, I couldn’t wash my hair or brush my teeth. It was excruciatingly painful. I faithfully took my pain meds which I had never done for previous surgeries. It was quite a humbling experience and one in which I have a new respect for people who endure cancer and all the many bonus prizes that come with it. Not even just cancer, really anyone who endures any kind of health crisis for it reminds us of our humanity, our frailty and the small, thin transparent door between this world and the next.
I recovered. Not without scars. Not without looking in the mirror everyday and seeing breasts that really aren’t mine, feeling them or not feeling them and being reminded that this part of my body is fake. I don’t curse God or blame. It is what it is. There is a quiet acceptance in me of what has come and what has gone. I’m okay. My life goes on and the journey continues.
I have recently quit a job that was quite literally killing me. I worked long hours and even when I wasn’t physically working, I was mentally playing out things in my head when I got home. I dreamt about work and I’m sure had consultations with the elders in my sleep trying to arrive at the best possible solutions or ways to accomplish the goals needed for success at work. What I came to realize was that it didn’t matter how many hours I worked, how many different ways that I arrived at a solution the job environment I lived in was a toxic one and would always be a toxic one because of who was running the show. I could continue to subject myself to this or I could do the healthiest thing for me and walk away. I did a lot of soul searching and going back and forth telling myself it wasn’t that bad, that it was fairly good money and paid the bills. Until one day there was a voice that kept saying to me over and over “Leap and the net will appear” It was a mantra that wouldn’t stop until I finally said okay. I went home that night, wrote my resignation which surprisingly the words just flowed and I walked away. Even though I have moments of anxiousness and fear I do know that it was the best thing for me.
And the journey continues. That’s the one thing that is truly amazing about this life. The world just keeps spinning and we are along for the ride. Many times exhaustedly, despairingly I went to bed saying a silent prayer that I would go to sleep and not wake up. At some point I quit these desperate pleadings and just didn’t plead about anything. I couldn’t see the goodness in my life. All I could see was what I had lost. I struggled. I closed the door on God, on my faith.
I recently read something that said a heart filled with despair cannot pray and there is silence. I felt this. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I knew I was not connected. There was only silence. I didn’t connect it to my despair. It wasn’t until I learned to let the despair go that the door jarred open and a tiny morsel of light was revealed. It was enough. It was the beginning of having been asleep for a very long time and awakening for the first time.
My journey has been baby steps back to God, always wrestling for control, always wanting things my way and never really knowing what that is or what it looks like. Picturing it in my head now I think an observer would most likely find it to be a really good comedy. One day surrender comes on the journey and you wonder why it took so long. What a relief. You don’t have to be in control. You can let go and just place your hand in the Universe and trust.
The picture with this posting was taken while I was on a hike with a friend. We were on the return and this most spectacular light shown through this grove of trees. It was as if heaven lifted the veil and all of its glory was spilling forth. The energy was full of peace and love. It is where I always want to be on my journey, full of peace and love, undeterred, unmoved even though there may be chaos all around me. To be heavily grounded in my journey that I don’t waver. I hope that I will encounter you along the way, on your own journey of faith.