Happy New Year everyone! It’s New Year’s Day, and I do NOT have a pot of black-eyed peas simmering on the stove. For some of you, that may not seem like a big deal, but the black-eyed peas on New’s Year’s Day is one of those things that comes down to you through generations of family and community culture, and I feel like quite a rebel to not be force-feeding those little legumes to my friends and family. But, fact is, nobody really wants to eat them, and so a few years ago we abandoned this little piece of Southern culture.
I feel pretty lucky, anyway. Sure, the end of 2011 included something anyone would consider to be bad luck. Finding out I have breast cancer was quite a shock, and I would be a lot happier if it had not happened, but I’m not sure I could be any luckier. We found it early. It had not spread to my lymph nodes. It is not a kind of cancer that requires chemotherapy to kill. After my second surgery on January 11, the surgeon says we can be pretty sure it is gone. Six weeks or so of radiation and some medication for several years will help make sure it stays gone.
Even more than lucky, I am blessed. My family and friends have been wonderful. I’ve been surrounded and supported on a wave of prayer. I’ve been the happy recipient of hugs, food, flowers, notes, and funny cartoons. The doctors, nurses, and staff at St. Luke’s and the Goppert Breast Center are amazing, kind, and communicative. Dr. Clark, my primary care doc and his staff have been caring and supportive.
And, above all God has been good. I am blessed with healing, but even more, I am learning the blessing of being still. In one of my earlier postings, I mentioned one of the Scriptures I am relying on is Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” I am not very good at being still. I’m a fixer. I want an action plan, and I generally would prefer to be in charge of it. Suddenly I am faced with something I absolutely can’t fix and I have only limited input into the action plan. The only part of this I am really in charge of is what is going on in my head and my heart. And though I am far from perfect at it, I have been learning to be still and listen to God’s comforting promises, recognize God’s presence in the good and the bad, and see God’s love and care for me in the love and care I receive from others. The stillness is a blessing in itself.
This is not some “happy talk” statement. I am not happy to have cancer. I don’t enjoy fear, or pain, or being on the receiving end of extensive medical care (or the bills that come with it). I don’t believe God put me in this position so I would learn to be still, find inner peace and become some glowing example of growth through suffering. But I do know that God has walked with me, sat by me on sleepless nights, comforted me with his Word and with the prayers and words of others. I know that I have been blessed and continue to be.
So, I am beginning 2012 with no black-eyed peas but with plenty of blessing and that’s all the luck I need.
And, a bit of fun – Sara sent me this, my new favorite cartoon!