Today I laid down on the couch. It’s been a sleepy day, but once my head was on a pillow, I felt wide awake. So I closed my eyes and just checked in with God. I said, I could talk to you, God, but I’d rather listen, so maybe you could talk to me. Immediately I started seeing a long, long road winding out into the future, to places and people I had never met, a road with a ribbon of rainbow twisting along its surface, traveling through the countryside and colorful, sparkling cities. And I realized that I have fallen into that trap of being stuck in time. I have been thinking that I am here in this place and these circumstances, and particularly with my stage 4 cancer diagnosis, I have envisioned myself as this self, in this place, doing this thing, from now until the end of my days.
But suddenly I realized that this is not true at all. I have become more positive about my cancer. People have reminded me that lobular carcinoma is slow growing. Rather than worrying about where it might be hiding in my body, I am reminding myself that the only place we know it has taken up residence is in the soft tissues, and a soft tissue tumor in itself is never going to kill you. Only when it invades the organs can it do that.
Last year at this time, I never would have imagined myself in this place, in these circumstances, neither for the better nor for the worse. But here I am! Even though we have an illusion of control, in fact life unfolds in the most unexpected ways!
This message is for you, too, for those of you who are suffering in any of the myriad ways we do. You will not be where you are forever. There is a long road stretching out in front of you, filled with endless surprises. Close your eyes, envision it, prepare for it. We can’t fix everything, we can’t take the past with us, but we can have a future.
I have a tattoo on my arm of a line from a Tolkien poem. I got it after I finished my first cancer treatment, to remind myself that life was not over. This says it all.
Still ’round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate ….
And surely it does. To the future, my friends!