A friend sent me these words of encouragement last week written by John O’Donahue from his poem, BENNACHT (BLESSING):
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
I need that invisible cloak of Love around me. The protection of the great cloud of witnesses that has gone before me is also a necessary item in my peace package. The Spirit is blowing in my life and I am grateful.
Today I saw the doctor as a peace of mind appointment before I leave the country for a week. She has told me that I can absolutely go. I hope the earth does nourish me while I am away and that the ocean breathes deep into me while Light shines upon me. So many of us with cancer can develop anxiety around symptoms or creatures hiding in the dark under our bed to scare us. Cancer has a way of chipping away at sanity if you let it. Do not let it, I say. I have not yet mastered this ability but I do work hard at paying attention to my body, mind and spirit while trying to drown out the incessant voice that wants to be heard to disrupt the wind filled with words of Love. I do not have to labour intensively most days to silence that obnoxious creature lurking in the shadows but once in awhile it can rattle its chains enough to scare me.
My PICC line came out a year ago on January 12. Next week will be one year since I was told that the cancer was back and had already metastasized. Those were hard words to hear. My oncologist launched into the spiel regarding a new chemo regime that could be done. I listened and then said no. My body needed to rest from a year of tests with radioactive dyes, procedures, surgery, and chemo. That was what I wanted to do. She said not many people took that route as people were uncomfortable letting cancer go unchecked for any length of time. However, she agreed that for now this seemed like a good idea. She assured me that the chemo would not get rid of the cells but only prolong survival. My choice was to feel well and get on with life for as long as possible. The return of the cancer was far sooner than anyone had expected. Without chemo, the oncologist thought that I would likely live less than a year. I am so grateful that 12 months later I am still here and still doing fairly well, all things considered.
At this point no one knows how much time I have left. I have much I need to do in the coming months. In the meantime, I will wrap myself in the invisible cloak and mind my life, whatever is left of it. Keep me in your prayers the next month or so as I travel and begin to do some serious planning of how to spend these months that were not supposed to be mine. I am grateful for each day. To God be the glory!
What blessing might you pray over your life today?
If you were given a year to live, how would you spend it?
Creator God, grant me the strength to carry on, trusting you in all things. May I serve you alone with joy and peace. Do not let the scary monsters nipping at my heels overpower me. Grant me courage to persevere and to be a Light for you in this world. Amen.