Be Not Afraid

Choosing to Live in Hopefulness

Often, when things seem to be going well, I start to worry.  I let my mind wander and imagine every scenario that could be, including the scary, seemingly bad ones.  Even before I was diagnosed with cancer, I used to have some sort of feeling that I might get cancer in my twenties.  I don’t think I have a six sense; rather, as a worrier, I let myself  imagine that the worst case scenario might happen.  (And not only was cancer always my biggest fear, but my mom fought cancer and beat it in her twenties-going on to live a loving, giving, beautiful life.  She’s my hero!)  And the thing is, I got cancer.  I’m currently facing my biggest fear.  And despite all my worrying, when I was diagnosed I was still shocked.  And going through treatment was still scary, and at times, painful.  It’s not as if my worrying prepared me for what my family and I have been through these past six months.  In fact, all it did was cause me suffering before it was my time to suffer.

This morning, I woke up and realized that I hadn’t thought about cancer in two days.  At first, I smiled, thinking about these past few weeks since I’ve stopped treatment.  They’ve been wonderful.  I love spending each day with my beautiful little boy and having enough strength to hold him, pick him up, and play with him whenever I want to.  I love cooking dinner for my family again.  I love going for walks without my chemo pack attached.  I love feeling little hairs on the top of my head and seeing eyebrows beginning to sprout.  I love just living, and finding out what it means to be a mother, something I dreamt of for so long.

And yet, as soon as I remembered cancer this morning, I began to worry.  I worried about what I’ll find out in November, and whether or not the tumor has continued to shrink or if it has grown.  I worried that even if it hadn’t grown yet, it would in the next few years.  I worried about missing out on seeing my sweet boy grow up, and about leaving my wonderful husband.  But then I remembered what I’ve come to know:  these worries won’t prepare me for whatever lies ahead, and they won’t make anything difficult easier to face.  Rather, spending more time enjoying my little life now is what will make facing anything difficult in the future easier!  Drawing on memories of wonderful friends and experiences, and knowing that there would be more of them after treatment, was sometimes the only thing that could make me smile on a difficult day while I was receiving chemotherapy.

So, today I’m choosing to live in hopefulness, and not in fear, and I’m pushing my worries aside.  For it was the wonderful care of many doctors and nurses, countless prayers, and most of all, an unending sense of hope that brought my beautiful son from here,

NICU

to here,

and finally, to here.

Baby

And this I know to be true:

The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27)

Nubble Lighthouse, Maine

I pray that today you are able to cast your worries aside and savor every moment of your little, beautiful life.  Live intentionally, being fully present to every moment, and then, when difficult times do come, you’ll have a collection of small, lovely moments to remember, and they will carry you through anything.

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30 comments

  1. Kristin

    So true Ali! I hope you enjoy every minute! This blog has especially encouraged me as well.
    John Paul just keeps getting cuter BTW:)

  2. Mary Enquist

    I love you, Ali. Thank you for continuing to inspire me with every blog post. I’m so thankful to be “one of your girls”. I’ve got a little piece of heaven asleep on my lap as well. Natalie Allison can’t wait to meet you, John Paul, and Mike!

  3. Katie Yarger

    Ali,
    I’ve loved reading your blog and this post is particularly beautiful. I am so glad you are doing well. Fred and I think of you and Mike and JP often.

    All my love,
    Katie

  4. Sarah McGinley

    Absolutely lovely, Allison. If it means anything, your posts (particularly this one) continue to inspire me to live a fulfilling life, even when times seem difficult and are consumed with worry. Your vulnerability and honesty in these posts is remarkable. You are MY hero. (Can’t wait to see you at Notre Dame! 🙂 love you tons xoxo

  5. Amy

    Thanks for your blog. I found it at just the right time. A little wink from God because He knew I needed to read it. You see, I have some of the same things going on as you. My last chemo was Nov 2010. Lately, I have been worried by the , “what ifs”. God bless you.

    • Amy, I’m so glad that you found the blog and that it spoke to you. Congratulations on completing chemo!! That is wonderful, and you are a strong woman. I’ll be praying for you-that you have good health and piece of mind. May God bless you too.

  6. Christina

    Ali, thank you for this beautiful and inspiring post! Let this be a constant reminder (especially for us “worriers”) about being present and cherishing the moments of our lives. This reminds me of a quote I recently read from Storm Jameson: “The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.”

    Love you!

  7. Ali: You write so beautifully!! You certainly have been an inspiration to me! I just thought I’d let you know that I have 2 more weeks of chemo left and then my cancer doctor said I can give my weary body a rest for a while!! This last Tuesday (8/23/11) was the start of my 5th chemo cycle and when we found out the results of my CA125 blood test on Tuesday, I can certainly testify that YES, GOD IS GOOD! My CA125 blood count is now down to 11 – I haven’t had this low of a count since March of 2006!! I have been very fortunate that the Paclitaxel chemo drug still helps to shrink my tumors and make them docile for a while!! Know that I pray for you and your family daily! Love, Kathy

    • Kathy, thank you so much for your kind words!! I’m so glad we’ve been able to encourage each other on our journeys. And I’m so very glad you’re going to have a break from chemo. Congratulations!! I’m praying for you always. Love to you!!!

  8. Anne Buckingham

    thank you for continuing to share your experience, Ali. this is not the first time I have been moved by your beautiful writing and photography. though I haven’t commented in response to your thoughts before today, I’ve often been struck by your bravery as I’ve followed your posts in the previous months. as a new mother, I wish you only joy… Anne

    • Anne, I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. Thank you so much for commenting!! It is so good for me to write-it forces me to step back and realize how blessed I am, and it’s so wonderful to hear when my writing encourages someone else. How amazing is that! I wish you only joy, as well. Kiss your beautiful boy for me!!

  9. Ralph Kingsbury

    Cheryl and I have the beautiful card of you and your wonderful child along side pictures of Natalie. Mary keeps us informed about you. Your friendship has meant so much to her. We thank the Lord that she has you as a friend. I want you to know that I pray for you and your son, and all of your family.
    Keep up the wonderful beutiful writing.

    • Ralph, thank you so much for your comment. I am so excited to meet Natalie this weekend!! You must be thrilled with your beautiful grandaughter! I am so thankful for Mary. She has been such an amazing friend to me, always, and especially during these past few months. I’ll never forget everything she has done for me and how deeply she has loved me. I am blessed by her, that is for sure!

  10. Hugh

    Allison, you are truly an inspiration to all. Love reading your blog posts and feeling your love for life and your family and friends.
    We feel very blessed to have you in our lives…Mike is a very lucky guy……and John Paul is more beautiful than yesterday…if that is possible!!!!!!
    LOVE you…Margie and Hugh (mom-mom and pop-pop!!)

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