Serious stuff, Uncategorized

Treatment: Hope

The summer of 2017 has not been kind to me and my family, both close and extended. So many people I care about have had diagnoses that literally upended their lives this summer, some temporarily, others forever. I’ve been operating under the mire of worry for the last month, trying to find my way past the grey clouds swirling about my head. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying, researching, crying and angry, pondering why things seem so damn unfair. No answers, just the echo of my questions as a reply.

This week I realized something, though. As I watch the stress mount on everyone, as I watch the numbness, shock, and dismay turn to anger, I ask, “How much more? How much before we break?” While I do not get the answers I seek, I do get the picture in my mind of a mountain.

Why the mountain? Well, when you think about it, it’s a steep climb with few footholds to make it to the top. It’s a tough journey, the toughest of your life, and questioning whether you can conquer what seems impossible. That’s exactly what we are all doing. We are standing there facing that treacherous climb and asking ourselves, can I make it? Do I have what it takes? What if…?

You have to embrace your strength. You have to face that mountain with every ounce of tenacity, guts, and grit that you can muster, if for no other reason than that the minute you doubt your own strength, the battle is lost. Even before that first step is taken, you will lose if you don’t embrace hope. Hope becomes all you have. And it can be enough.

You have to have the hope that you will reach the top of that mountain, that you will stand at the peak and scream to the world, “It didn’t beat me! I faced my battle and it didn’t beat me!” Keeping that in mind is what will keep you going. It will see you through. It will be enough.

I am looking at all this that our family is going through and trying to convince myself that this bump in the road may be more like a crater, but it isn’t insurmountable. We are a strong group of people. We are fighters. We are stubborn. We are strong. We have hope. And that is enough.

Serious stuff

The face of hope

A pink fleece cap.

Wisps of blonde hair.

A smile to rival the sun’s brightness.

That is our Aunt Theresa.

I swear to you that if there is a Devil in this world his name is cancer, eating our bodies from the inside out.  But Aunt Theresa doesn’t flinch.  She has her faith.  She is fond of saying, “God led me to this, he’ll lead me through it.”  She isn’t letting breast cancer define her.  She treats it like just another hurdle, just one more chore to get out of the way.  I look at her and my eyes fill with tears for so many reasons, not the least of which is the inspiration she is to us all.

Even when she got the diagnosis, she was positive and up.  While I know she is scared and angry inside, she rarely shows it.  She won’t let this beat her.  She wears her faith like armor and knows she has family to bolster her.

When I entered the room of a recent family gathering I saw her, holding the latest addition to her string of grandchildren, five-month-old Ryan.  Her arms wrapped around him, bouncing him on her lap, she smiled the smile of one who is bursting with pride.  I thought to myself, “Little man, you have no idea the strength upon whose lap you sit.”  Because it’s true.  I know in my heart I could never be that strong in the face of such a demon.

My thoughts tend to run much darker, negativity being my go-to response.  When I see Aunt Theresa and my thoughts turn cold, she always warms them.  She tells me things like, “Don’t let others steal your joy.”  She reminds me that this life is what we get, the only shot we have at proving the Devil wrong.

Each positive phrase she gives me makes me thankful she has God on her side.  You see, Aunt Theresa is one of the few true Christians I’ve ever met.  She walks the walk and talks the talk.  She loves without measure or judgement.  She relishes the value of a friend and welcomes all with open arms into her life.  Her ability to forgive is something to behold and to which we should all aspire.

I am not a religious person by any stretch of the idea.  I don’t feel the presence of God in my life the way so many people do.  However, it’s hard to be with Aunt Theresa and not wonder that my own thoughts are wrong.  She has no doubt in her God.  She doesn’t question His path for her.  She goes willingly and with zeal.  She sees the light, always, and is quick to steer you in its direction should you wander into the dark.  The minute you start to feel down, like cancer will win, she gives you a wonderful gift.


I’ve seen the face of hope.

It wears a pink fleece cap, has wisps of blonde hair and a smile that rivals the brightness of the sun.