There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Unintended Walls We Build

I don’t talk very often about my son’s cancer or the time he spent treating for it.  Mostly because he has moved on and doesn’t want to be reminded of it.  Out of respect for his wishes, I chose not to become involved in organizations like Relay for Life, or other fundraising or support groups.  This was his experience first, not mine and he needed to be the one to call the shots.

It has been three years since he has been declared officially cancer free.  A total of eight years since he was originally diagnosed.  And at times it feels like a blur, or even like it never happened. 

But it did happen, and while it was his experience, I was there with him every step of the way.  And I learned some things.  I learned how to take care of a child with cancer. I learned how to juggle the needs of the family so that none of my other kids felt neglected.  But mostly, I learned how to lock down my emotions.

I learned how to be strong, capable and independent.  And the more help I was offered the more I resented it.  I did not want help.  I was perfectly capable of handling this situation and anything else that came my way, thank you very much. And how dare you insinuate that I can’t handle this by offering assistance.  Or at least that’s how I took it.

My son’s cancer is gone, long gone, but the lesson I learned…that to be vulnerable is to be weak, has been firmly cemented in my mind.  I still become obstinate about not needing help.  I can do this thing called life on my own.  And I have largely managed to get that message across to everyone. 

Last night was date night. My husband and I went out for dinner and during the course of the evening he shared with me that while he admires my strength and independence, he wishes I would let my guard down with him. He wants to help me. He wants to support me.  I, of course, responded by quickly wiping away the one small tear that formed in my eye, and changed the subject.

But this morning I’m thinking heavily about what he said.  Does he really want me to let my guard down? To be vulnerable?  Has my unwillingness to do that created a wedge between us that keeps us from becoming even closer?  There’s a certain amount of trust and faith that goes into being vulnerable.  And I wonder…is being vulnerable a weakness or is it a strength?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Crisis of Faith

When I started this blog over a year ago, I was filled with purpose and determination. I  had set a large goal for myself, not only to give up drinking for a year but also to “fix” my relationship with God.  I blogged daily and so much of what I had to say was about God.

I don’t blog as much anymore.  And believe me, it’s not for lack of thoughts swirling through my head, it’s just that I like to have the answers. I like to know that when I have a problem, concern, whatever, that by the end of my tidy and concisely written article I have already drawn my conclusions.

I am struggling to write because I’m struggling to find the answers.  How can I wrap up my thoughts in a blog if I can’t organize them or make sense of them. 

I have been in search of peace.  A peace beyond all understanding that is promised to me in the Bible if I simply place my faith in Jesus Christ.  But if there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that there is no peace.  How can there be really? One look at the newspaper confirms that truth.

Life is a bitch, quite frankly, as the saying goes.  It’s hard. People get sick, they die, they lose their jobs, their friends, they struggle with addictions, money problems, health issues. The list goes on…

So the obvious answer is to assume there really is no God. How could there be in a world filled with strife.  Or maybe there’s a God, in the sense of some great energy force or some other such scientific something or other, but certainly no personal God.  If there was, wouldn’t I feel his presence? Wouldn’t I feel that peace that I yearn for so desperately? Wouldn’t I know for sure that everything would be all right in the end?

I don’t have the answers to those questions. Not today, maybe not ever. But I don’t believe the answer is to do what I have done over the last few months and turn away from the hope that He is there.  To give up on God is the easy way out.  To have faith amidst a headful of doubt is difficult.  It requires a choice.  A daily decision to believe that everything will be all right in the end.

My faith is shattered, fragmented and hanging on by a thread, but it’s not gone. I hope its enough…