Every once in awhile, I marvel at how this cancer experience teaches me valuable lessons. Today during my session with my social worker, I was talking about the interview that I had had with Dr. Harvey Chochinov for Dignity Therapy training for a recent conference. He had given me some notes from participants who wanted me to know how much they had appreciated my sharing. I have re-read them three times today.
One of the notes ended with similar words that were stuck in my head as I walked back to my car that day: You is beautiful; you is smart the participant wrote. The original words are from The Help by Kathryn Stockett and these rumbled around my brain each step I took towards my car: You is kind. You is smart. You is important. I had not really meant for that to be a theme during the interview but it was. In discussing what had unfolded with my social worker, he used a lovely phrase when I was sharing how deeply moved I still am by the memory that came regarding the women who had mentored me when I was 20 years old and living in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I could have chosen a dozen situations where they had taught me about being a feminist or an activist but instead what flooded my mind and heart was a recreational evening in which they abandoned their plans so that I could fully participate. These are the women who taught me that I was loved just as I was. Indeed, there are the women who convinced me of Stockett’s words being true:You is kind. You is smart. You is important. My social worker listening to me describe what happened stated: The memory chose you. He was exactly right. The memory had chosen me that morning and blessed me once again, touching my spirit in a profound and loving way.
Another note from an American woman who works at a Hospice echoed the words that were a thread in my story: I am smart, I am wise, I am equal. I had not planned to talk about these things–they just came out of me. Somehow I needed to say them and have them be heard. I know that the listeners were primarily women and I know too that my story is every woman’s story. We grow into ourselves with age, most of us. We break through the lies that the media tells us and at some point say enough! The interview that day helped me to integrate my story and to comprehend it in a fascinating and marvelous way. I am so grateful for that opportunity.
Women tend to be late bloomers in finding our true selves I suspect. My illness has forced introspection on me too, though, in truth, I am highly created that way. I have always had the tendency to pick up my thoughts and play with them, turning them over and over until they make sense. A friend of mine from the east coast sent a card today that said, Maybe I think too much….I laughed. I certainly cannot throw any stones in her direction!! The ability to think deeply and feel fully can sometimes feel like an enemy but I am learning to embrace both of these. I like what I find when I do. That does not mean that I like what I uncover necessarily; it does mean that I like that I have unlocked a door to growth and an opportunity to bloom again.
What questions have you turned over until they make sense?
Has a memory ever chosen you?
God, you have placed within each one of us seeds that want to bloom. Some of us need more loving care before that happens. You provide for us exactly what we need so that in time we trust enough to open wide and blossom. Thank you! Amen.