Despite my wonderful news last Thursday, and our incredible, grace-filled weekend, I’ve felt a feeling of sadness deep in my heart the past two days. I couldn’t figure out why, until I snapped this picture of my dad and John Paul today, just ten minutes before I drove my parents to the airport so they could fly home.
Although there were horrible things that came along with being diagnosed with cancer while pregnant and enduring five months of chemotherapy, there were beautiful things that came along with the diagnosis as well. Don’t get me wrong, I think cancer itself is evil, but just like we can when faced with any evil in life, I’ve discovered that we can overcome the evil of cancer with goodness. And that is exactly what I’ve seen my family and friends do since February. From them, I have been taught how to combat sadness with happiness, tears with laughter, and despair with joy. And through them, I have been shown how to ace tests that could tear us apart by pulling closer together, ace tests that could weaken our faith by delving deeper into our faith, ace tests that could leave us feeling unable to move forward by running forward in love, and ace tests that could leave us feeling scared and alone by reaching out in love.
This weekend, as we came together to celebrate John Paul’s baptism and my first clean PET scan, our very being together was an outward manifestation of our solidarity, and of our love for one another. As we celebrated mass together in a tiny living room, we shared the love of Jesus Christ with one another, and without words, forgave one another for the times we’ve hurt one another, and thanked one another for the times we’ve carried one another. And through the blessed body of Christ, we were strengthened to continue to love one another through whatever is yet to come.
Now, with all this beauty, “Why the sadness?,” you might ask? I suppose that it’s really just fear, disguising itself as sadness. As my parents, the last of visiting family and friends, left today, I felt fear in my heart. Fear that now that things are beginning to return to normal (praise God!), we will return to our old ways. Fear that relationships that blossomed due to forced vulnerability will close back up, fear that arms that reached out in need will return back to our sides, and fear that loving words that were expressed without hesitation will stop short in our throats once again.
So, this afternoon, as I watched my parents wave goodbye to John Paul and me at the airport, I decided to force my fear into action, just as I have been taught to do from family and friends these past few months. In my mind, I began listing all the things I plan to do to try my best to make sure my family and friends and I stay as close as we’ve become over the past few months in our time of tragedy. And my hope and prayer is that through these actions, our love for one another will continue to deepen and grow, both in times of sickness and in blessed times of health.
My prayer for you today is that you might overcome the evil and difficulties you face in your life with goodness, and that you might have the strength to keep that goodness alive in all times of your life. Don’t wait for tragedy to bring you closer to your friends and family; rather, act now. Starting today, make yourself vulnerable and reach out to those you love. Pull closer to those you love and begin to deepen your faith, and when dark times come, you will be ready to carry those you need to carry, and be carried by them yourself.
Thank you for joining me on my 31 day challenge!
Day 1: Be Not Afraid
Day 2: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Day 3 Keeping a Faithful Heart in Light of Suffering
Day 4: Facing Fears with Laughter
Day 5: Listening to My Heart
Day 6: Daring to Love Myself in Order to Love Others
Day 7: Opening Up My Idea of a Remarkable Life
Day 8: Giving Voice to My Fears
Day 9: Being a Bearer of Joy
Day 10 & 11: Give Everything
Day 12: Switching My Focus
Day 13: Reaching Out
Day 14 & 15: Letting Go
Day 16: Giving Voice to My Dreams
And click here to read all the other wonderful blogs joining in on this challenge!