I Am With You

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In doing my nightly devotional, I came across a sentence I am adapting a bit that brought me much joy: The fact that I am with you always makes every moment of your life meaningful. It does not matter if we are newly born, newly dying or somewhere in the middle.  St. Ignatius says that we should not desire a long nor a short life but that we should choose only that for what we have been created.  In doing so, we are free.  Jesus is with us. That was his promise.  We belong to him and our lives matter, however long they are.

Some days I feel a little like a failure when I think about the warrior mentality many take towards battling cancer.  Some people think I have not fought hard enough though they do not know the details of my choices.  I have not put my body through extreme punishment to win the race of being in the NED (no evidence of disease) club. The truth of the matter is I was probably only NED for a couple of months post-surgery.  I agreed to do a round of chemo for six months.  I went in cancer-free and came out with cancer that had metastasized.  A cruel joke some would say.  I decided to give my body a break and once somewhat recovered went off to Europe.  I told my oncologist that if a trial drug ever came up, I would take it because it might help others survive this rare cancer.  One has never appeared.

My idea of fighting cancer as my family, friends and faithful readers know has been to live fully with joy and hope. I have created memories with loved ones so that once I am gone they can cherish those moments. I have done what I loved.  I have continued to serve in my parish and beyond its walls.  I have written this blog with an emphasis on living while I am dying, extending hope to dear hearts and strangers alike. I have not given in to despair for long, despite managing all the twists and turns of this wild adventure.  Life around me does not stop because I am dying. I still must cope with the death of friends and family members.  A recent three-week hospital stay was primarily for other causes.  Disappointments arise.  Life is what it is–meaningful and engaging.

Every single moment of my life has meaning.  Lately, people have been reaching out, telling me how courageous and inspirational I am.  This process of living while I am dying is exhausting at this point so I miss the landmarks around me until I get an email or have a conversation with someone who points them out.  Even my physiotherapist is a conduit for God whether she believes or not.  She is with me, affirming, literally, my every step as my broken ankle continues to heal.

Jesus sometimes looks differently than we imagined. Take a tender moment with my palliative care nurse as an example.  She looked at my foot early in the process of healing and offered to put cream on it.  I had done so about an hour before but I agreed that the skin was horribly scaly still.  She knelt down in front of me and gently slathered on the lotion. Something in me broke a little as I watched her.  Her compassion was moving. She looked up into my eyes just as they teared up.  I was not really sure why I was crying until recently. I had been in prayer and the image came up again of her kneeling before me, except this time her face changed and it was my Beloved washing my feet.  He looked up at me too, just as I began to cry.  Go and do what I have done, I heard him say.  Jesus is with me always, until the end of time, and I must keep watch for the disguises.

Even as my energy fades, I am still asked to make my life meaningful and to die well. My task is to make my life meaningful and to show an alternative way to battle cancer.  I do not see myself as losing this battle but as gaining Life. I am not fully certain what that means or how to do that.  I have no road map. I have only Jesus as my model and he is with me to help me maneuver the Mystery.

Peace,

Suzanne

Reflection Questions

What does it mean to know every moment of your life is meaningful?

Has a moment in prayer ever changed your outlook on life?

Prayer

Beloved, you caress our brokenness and carry us through the ups and downs of life.  You make each moment meaningful because you are with us.  You guide us lovingly along the way, showing up in disguises, catching us unaware. I am with you.  Keep me faithful to my path. Amen.

About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
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5 Responses to I Am With You

  1. Monica says:

    Hi Suzanne. Thanks for the reminder to live fully. I find that, for me, being tired is sometimes a challenge to living fully. Knowing you cope with fatigue and yet manage to be tuned in to God’s presence in your life is inspiring to me. Your blog always speaks to me and encourages me to live each day with hope and gratitude. Have a good week!

  2. Toni says:

    I like your third paragraph especially, Suzanne, and feel all of it could easily be written present tense, not past. You really are inspirational, and your courage is no doubt helping others who need a boost through you.

  3. Karen Wheadon says:

    Suzanne,

    After reading your post, I thought you may enjoy reading these notes. My yoga teacher sent them to me. She does beautiful readings such as these as part of her class. Sadly last week she announced with tears that she has been diagnosed with stage one pancreatic cancer. Also, while she was in India this past year, she almost died with a serious blood clot near her heart. She made the trip back to Vancover, survived, but now has this recent diagnosis. She is inspirational, courageous, and brave like yourself. She is choosing to live with joy. When you Pass over into the next realm, you will leave behind such a legacy for all of us and that’s a gift.

    I have been down with a flu since Saturday, so not feeling great at all. There’s a terrible flu virus going around. It can last a long time, so I decided to go to doctor for meds to hopefully speed up recovery as Bonnie coming tomorrow nite. PAUSE What will matter most/ chakra clearing. By Michael Josephson

    JAi Bhagwan…..Victory to the life force energy of now.

    OM NAMSIVHa …….may I know my authentic true self , the true identity of me, may I experience heaven on earth, may I know the song of my heart. Lulu song 7

    MANTRA OF CLASS TODAY Are you breathing just a little and calling it life?

    I will experience in life…. wholeness rather than fragmentation I will experience purpose and leave a footprint on my soul and the world I will reach out eagerly without fear and hug the world I will create positive vibrations that radiate to others I will give time and space to sprout my potential …India I will embrace and create a quality existence filled with passion, determination, love and light. I will know my story is unique and important to share with others, make an impact and to be proud of it,s legacy

    Chakra clearing ….the last chakra all knowing …the purpose

    POEM ….change to MATTER on evernotes

    ready or not, some day it will come to an end

    There will be no more sunrises,no minutes hours or days All things you collected whether treasured or forgotten will pass into someone else

    yOur wealth,fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance It will not matter what you owned or what you owed

    Your grudges and resentments ,frustrations and jealousy will finally disappear So too your hopes and ambitions plans and to do lists will expire The wins and losses that once seem so important will fade

    It won,t matter where you came for or what side of the tracks your lives on in the end It won,t matter whether you were brilliant or beautiful, even th gender and skin colour will be irrelevant

    So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measure?

    What will matter is not what you bought but what you built , not what you got but what you gave

    What will matter is not your success but your significance

    What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught

    What will matter is evEry act of integrity,compassion,courage or sacrifice that enriched , empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example.

    What will matter is not your competence but your character

    What will matter is not how many people you knew But how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.

    What will matter is not our memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.

    What will matter is not how long you will be remembered by whom and for what

    Living a life that matters doesn’t,t happen by accident . It,s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

    CHOOSE TO LIVE A LIFE THAT MATTERS.

    Mark twain …The two best days of my life is when I was born and when I found why I was put on this earth

    What is your word to be remembered by

    What is your word for this year.

    THOUGHTS ON PURPOSE

    Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it life (mary Oliver) The meaning of life is to find your gift , the purpose of life is tO give it away

    Life begins when you own your life. No apologies or excuses. You and only you are responsible for it,squality

    Are you enduring life or are you soaring….life is a mixture of stumbling, falling, and soaring and flying. Fall in love with your existence. Do not merely exist eat up every moment.

    MARY OLIVER In awe of living

    Pay attention Behave intentionally Be astonished Tell about it

    Tell me what is your plan to do with this one precious life

    You do not have to walk on your knees 100 miles through dessert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your underbelly love what it loves

    When it is all over I don,t want to wonder if I made of life something particular and real. I don,t want to find myself sighing and frieghtful and full of argument I don,t want to have simply visited the world I want to whole heartedly hugged and kissed and embraced it all with out fear or regret.

    I was born a bride of amazing married to the groom who held the world in his arms.

    Mark twain…..the best two days of your life is the day you were born and the day you discover why you are no this earth.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  4. sstyves says:

    Thank you for sharing these notes with me, Karen. They bring peace. I’m just turning on my lights here but I’ll try to send you an email in the next few days. Enjoy your time with your visitors. I hope you will be well enough by the time they arrive. 💜

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