Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beauty is the Wrong Paradigm (a poem for girls)

I would rather be courageous than beautiful.
beauty is fleeting
it goes away.
I would rather be strong
I would rather stand with my face to the wind
in wide, open spaces where my soul can be
free
than have the need
inside of me
to be pretty.
I would rather be remembered for what I DO.
I want the world to see me and say
"There goes a maker." and
"Look at the work of her hands...
and her mind...and her soul."

I would rather be loving than beautiful.
Love lasts forever,
and beauty is food for worms.
Girls, oh girls! Gather 'round and and hear
my wisdom:
Beauty is the wrong paradigm.
Beauty is not enough to strive for
even if you think you want it from the very bottom of your soul.
Don't strive for beauty in your life, because if you do
you will find it
slipping through your fingers like
sands of time.
No.
Reach for love.
Reach for goodness.
Reach for creating beauty around you.
Reach for tenderness.
Reach for mercy.
Reach for graciousness and grace.
Reach for feeding the hungry,
and offering a cup of cold water to the thirsty person nearby.
Reach for being silent in the face of gossip,
and being kind instead of bitchy.
Reach for what interests you, what lights up your mind.
Be passionate about giving the depths of yourself to the world, by song, by story, through art or an excellent business idea....offer yourself up.
But don't reach for beauty.
it's the wrong paradigm.
You are so much MORE than beautiful.
a poem that doesn't rhyme by Alana Sheldahl

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Looking for the Good

I watched a video by Rivka Malka Pearlman this morning, and something she said really got me thinking:  She spoke of transition being a good thing!  And this, just after I have blogged about how the cancer journey feels like exile (SO NOT a good thing)...

but it challenged me, and I started to ponder...I should look for the good.  What good things have come about in my life due to Wes having Glioblastoma?

I'm not going to make a comprehensive list here, but I will share a few points.

For one thing, this diagnosis and fight has shown me how good Wes has always been to me.  What will I do without him?  He is precious.  Looming death makes me wake up to that fact.

Cancer has taught me that my faith is small, very small, and needs to grow bigger...and it has.

Cancer has taught me that I am surrounded by community.

Cancer has taught me that people are generous and giving...and that through them, I experience the faithfulness of God.

Cancer has shown me that I am not alone.

Cancer has shown me how many decisions in my life are based on fear.  I am learning to think differently and do differently and let go of the fear.  (see that bit above about small faith).

Cancer has spurred me to seek out help in getting my kids educated...much to my relief.

Cancer has pushed me to think about what do "I" want in life...to think in terms of career dreams, and hopes.  

Ok, so that is my beginning of looking for the good even in the midst of a great "bad".  I'm glad to be learning these lessons, but I would honestly rather not have had to learn them via my husband having brain cancer.  


Monday, February 09, 2015

...We Used to Sit and Weep at the Thought of Zion

So yesterday in Church we dusted off "On the Banks of the River of Babylon...".  Lent is soon here, and I have echoes of Bridegoom matins services already echoing through my head:  "Oh my soul, why are you slee-eeping?"

Except, I'm NOT...or at least I don't think I am.  Spiritual sleep is not the issue for me on this cancer journey.  Yes, all of life has become "the Cancer Journey".  It fills EVERYTHING.  It tinges every joy, it enhances every sorrow.

It feels like exile.

And  while I am in a better, more hopeful place than I was a year ago, when I felt like Wes would die any second, it is STILL exile. 

Today I am full of tears once again. 

I wonder if this is how the exiles felt?  Taken captive from their homeland, awakened and weeping at their loss.  At first, perhaps, it was with the looming certainty of death...but then time settles in and there's a new-not-so-great life to be lived...in exile. 

This cancer journey feels like exile.  And some days, I want to weep. 

Monday, February 02, 2015

Bill Doyle: Treating cancer with electric fields

This is the treatment that Wes is seeking next.  He met with the doctor today, and it looks like in 1-3 months he will be set up with this electrical field therapy device.  He will continue doing chemo as well, or now.  There's no official protocol for chemo at this point in his GBM....it is anybody's guess what to do. New science.  CUTTING. EDGE.  -

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Walking Into the Door Jamb of Repentance

So today we stared singing "Open to me the doors of repentance..." in Church.  The Lenten triodion has begun.  Am I ready?  Am I ever ready? 

I doubt it. 

In fact, when God opens to me the doors of repentance, I'm just as likely as not to walk straight into the door jamb.  That bruise you see in my forehead...

Because that is the very nature of repentance.  We pray for it, we ask for it "create in me a clean heart, O God..." and yet, in this life...

we fall down...

we get back up. 

we fall down....

we get back up. 

We pray "open to me the doors of repentance", and then we walk into the doorjamb and don't actually go THROUGH the door. 

I can think of all the ways I have gotten complacent.  I ponder the areas of my life about which I must cry out to God for mercy and say "purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean"....that, my friends, is a literal prayer for God to cleanse us of our shit.  That's what a "purge" is, and that is what the hyssop plant does.  It is a medicinal that is used for colon cleansing. 

So let's hope that this year, when we walk into the door jamb of repentance we will also trip on it and fall flat on our faces. 

Have mercy on me, O God....

Thursday, January 29, 2015

About Fear

Today I woke up and my emotions and thoughts were back in that fearful and negative place where I am panicked about the future, about the increased cost of living, the cost of illness (I stare at my med bottles wondering which one I could do without to save money) and of course underlying and overshadowing everything, Wes' cancer. 

I felt stressed.  And rather helpless.

Due to increased insurance costs, our budget is not quite what it once was.  Lets just leave it at that, shall we?

And it is grocery day and I knew exactly how much was (or wasn't) on the bank account. 

I felt stressed.  And rather helpless. 

At some point in my morning of putting one foot in front of the other (oh how I wanted to be working in my etsy shop to try and earn some money) in which the demands and needs of my kids took precedence over my desires I had a very very clear-as-a-bell thought: 

Manna in the Wilderness. 

I thought of how God gave just enough manna for that day, and double on Fridays so that His people could rest on Sabbath. 

I thought of the fact that I DO have what I need to buy groceries today, because I have a gift card in my wallet that someone gave us.  (and so buy groceries I did). 

What will I do when our budget still doesn't work, and the gift card is gone?  Manna in the Wilderness:  Stay in the TODAY. 

That's been the biggest lesson I have learned so far on this cancer journey, is the importance of staying in the present, and deliberately practicing gratitude.  It is the only way to stay in that place of trust in God...in this moment I have all that I need.  In this moment, God is with me.  In this moment, I can feel love. 

Of  COURSE I can't sense God's presence or receive that Manna in the future because the future is not yet the "now".

Psalm 117: 5ff. (118) says:

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Disney Lied to Me!

Disney lied to me!

 I was taught by Snow White that cleaning first a castle and then the dwarves' house would get me surrounded by friends, a jam session and a long nap afterwards...still waiting on the musical friends and the nap. But they got the part about naps being disturbed by unwelcome kisses right....

Cinderella...again with the cleaning! I was taught by Cinderella that if I did all the household chores, someone else would do my sewing for me and I would have energy to dance until midnight. It just isn't so! (pardon the pun). They lie!

Pocahontas...I can't EVEN. She didn't seem to HAVE chores.

Beauty and the Beast: that being a bookworm gets you unwanted suitors...Ha. Not unless by "unwanted suitors" you mean a few extra pounds.

Little Mermaid: That there's room for collecting lots of stuff. Not EVEN.

Princess Jasmine: HOW is her outfit and palace NOT covered in Tiger fur????? because I have a couple of cats whose total size and weight do not equal THAT cat and I am NECK DEEP in cat fur. Just sayin'. [and speaking of cats: see note above about unwanted kisses].

Sleeping Beauty: That I would get a NAP for my birthday present. SO did not happen. I'm still waiting.

Rapunzel: That there's no such thing as vitamin D deficiency.

And I will NEVER be convinced that Elsa wasn't just going through Menopause.