Search results for 'broken heart'

Broken Heart

23 Oct

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I am heartbroken today. In April 2010, after my third surgery for cancer in my neck, I went through seven weeks of head and neck radiation. If you are not familiar with the process, based on your cancer, the radiation oncologist determines how much and how long your treatment will be; then  you are scheduled to receive that treatment at generally the same time everyday so that the amount of radiation running through your system stays consistent. So, every single day for seven weeks I was bolted to a table from my shoulders up, for a half an hour using the device made for me pictured below…it was not fun. The first week I was there I met ‘B’. We were two out of the 3-5 patients in the patient waiting room receiving radiation during our time frame. Since we saw each other every day around the same time, we got to know each other. Turns out, we had the same type of cancer, we both had a paralyzed vocal cord from the surgery, we both had the same radiation oncologist, and we had the same duration of therapy. Every day, we would talk about our struggles, our families, and our hopes and dreams for when we were finally cancer free. When the treatments got difficult, we would talk about it and I could always count on ‘B’ being there to encourage me to press on. Toward the end of treatment, we were both struggling, but we were able to do the daily countdown until the last day or ‘radiation graduation’. By the time the 7 weeks was over, I had a friend for life.radiation

For the past few years since then, we have kept in touch. We emailed each other our triumphs and struggles, he spoke of his wife and grandkids and the plans they had. We kept each other posted on cancer scares, tests, etc. We never lost touch. Over the past few months ‘B’ was struggling with various things and all I could do was pray and encourage him. Today, I got an email from him telling me ‘good-bye.’ His cancer has spread, and some to an inoperable area, he has just a few months left. I cried (and am still crying) from some of the words he wrote to me today. “Keep the faith , my sweet Anna, and I will remember that genuine smile of yours over your shoulder in the hallway in radiation oncology. Goodbye my friend, never give up. See you on the other side.” I am so sad. We went through a lot in that 7 weeks and ‘B’ was my guardian angel.  Despite the pain, he also had an encouraging smile on his face every day in that little waiting room. I know we are all only given a short amount of time on this earth, I am blessed to have known ‘B’. Thank you ‘B’, I love you…see you on the other side.

No lipstick today, just me, plain and simple.

Goodbye 2016

31 Dec
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Me and my cousin Michael

It is the last day of 2016 and there are so many things swirling in my head I’m not sure what to write. It’s been a year of deaths of so many icons from my youth; David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Mrs. Brady~Florence Henderson, and more recently Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher. I don’t idolize them but holy cow, the memories of the music and shows they bring up. It’s sad and nostalgic but it’s also a reminder for me of aging and mortality…I’m getting older. A little over a week ago my cousin passed away after having a heart attack, he was 46. He was mostly raised by my grandma in the Philippines but came to the US as a teen. He stayed with us through his Junior High years then ended up moving to California to be closer to his mom. Michael struggled with depression and we kept in contact on and off through the years. His adult life was a struggle but I think he finally felt complete when his daughter was born; his was a struggle of identity and belonging, and depression and maybe his heart attack was really a broken heart. Over the past week my cousins and I have been in more contact with each other than I can ever remember thanks to technology and Facebook messenger. We didn’t all grow up together because we are all over the place; Philippines, Australia, California, Minnesota, Kentucky and me in Michigan. We along with our parents (the aunts and uncles) and Michael’s best friend have united in this tragedy and are helping cover expenses and arrangements for my aunt. Holidays are generally a time of family gatherings and I don’t really know what that’s like strangely until now. Outside of the friends that have surrounded my family I did not grow up with my aunts, uncles, cousins, etc so this connection of us around the globe has been kind of bittersweet for me.

I read a quote today ‘It takes the darkness to see the stars.’ Reflecting on 2016 and in my life so far it’s been so true for me. I’m so grateful for my friends and family who always shine in my dark times and during this dark time of Michael’s death I see our family as the stars in the darkness coming together to help in however way we can. There are always stars, sometimes we just can’t see them. A good blogger friend of mine, Elizabeth, wrote a piece about New Year and not having resolutions but instead having a word/thememyintent/mantra…choosing a path. We must’ve been on the same wavelength because for Christmas I bought a little bracelet for myself with a word on it as a reminder; I chose STRONG. I chose strong instead of strength because strength feels like something I hope to have whereas I wanted that reminder to myself that shoot, after all I’ve been through, I’m already strong. What is your word? What will be your theme? What is your hope for 2017?

Today I wear Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Mercy which is a deep berry. I chose it because Kat is pretty strong and bad ass and also for the name (the color si pretty kickin too). We all could probably exercise a little more kindness, grace and mercy in 2017. HAPPY NEW YEAR!! CHEERS!!

 

Church

18 May

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I have been going to church my entire life. My parents did not exactly make church optional. This was not a bad thing really, I didn’t know any different and my parents didn’t make church look like a chore, it was a place they enjoyed going to. I grew up taking Sunday school classes, singing in the choir, working in the nursery, and really having community while learning about God. Although as a teen it wasn’t great fun and maybe I rolled my eyes those early Sunday mornings but we never missed. I have to say when I went away to college church was not on my mind but eventually I was drawn back. I missed the stability and the community and honestly the peace I felt listening to God’s Word so again in my 20’s I became a regular attender and volunteer.

I recently read another blog which said ‘the church is a beautiful and broken place..it can heal and restore and it can hurt and turn away.’ The author also says regarding current hot button issues, ‘…it’s a lot harder to just swallow what scripture says when there’s a face on the other side.’ Good stuff. So, last weekend I had a bit of an epiphany while sitting in church. The topic was ‘Where’s God when bad things happen?’ a loaded question which they unpacked beautifully. I have to say I have had a few not so fun things happen in my life in recent years and I did turn to my church and the people there for love, support, advice, etc. and have felt both loved and restored but also hurt. Awhile back I felt completely supported after months of asking questions and seeking prayer during an extremely tough time but after a single conversation about me with someone else who could speak more ‘bible-language’ the tune changed from supported to maybe more questioned and judged. It was hurt compounding hurt and I felt myself become guarded, distrustful, and distant. It became increasingly difficult to go to services and engage and to even look some people in the eye. The institution I had relied on my entire life, poured into, and loved did not feel like home anymore and I could feel my heart harden a little. Was the church really a SAFE place for ALL the broken; broken hearted, broken families, troubled kids, abused, blended families, those with more complicated life stories? Are those just empty words and invitations that can turn on a dime when a truly difficult situation happens? Is a person more religious and believable if they have more bible verses memorized? All questions running through my mind.2012-07-08 16.33.59

So what happened last Sunday? I let it all go. Forgiveness. I looked at everyone around me and even the pastor speaking at the pulpit and realized the church is just a bunch of broken people gathered in a building doing the best they can while seeking God. We’re all human, we all make judgement calls and sometimes they’re not always right (and that includes pastors because they’re human too).One thing I know for sure, that question, ‘Where’s God when bad things happen?’ He is right there with you. Whatever I felt toward ‘the church’ through the difficult times with cancer or family issues I never doubted that God was right there holding my hand and that He had a plan. Last Sunday despite the questions in my mind and heart, I realized the church and its imperfections were just part of my journey to continue drawing closer to God. People always say they feel judged or not accepted or maybe that they don’t have a place or feel welcomed but should that be the burden of the church or the person or maybe both? The true burden lies with us, the people professing to be Christians. We are the church. Why does someone feel judged, because we judge. Why does someone feel left out, because we place ourselves in our cliques or comfort zones and stay there. Last Sunday I felt my shoulders relax a little and as they closed out with a song near and dear to me, the song I heard in my head before fully waking up after my first cancer surgery, the words rang true for me, ‘It is well with my soul.’

‘The kingdom of God is not going to be advanced by our churches becoming filled with men, but by men in our churches becoming filled with God~D. Campbell’

Today I wear my old standby Dior Addict Lip Glow. I ALWAYS have this in my purse. It is like a lipbalm but it brings out the natural berry of your lips. It is the only lip thing I buy consistently. I chose it today because of the topic and what this product does. Glow brings out the natural color of your lips and adds a hint of berry, being a Christian we glow from the Holy Spirit inside us. Let’s work harder to be a little nicer to each other showing less judgement and more mercy and grace. Cheers!

 

Scars

16 Nov

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I was sitting in a lunch room speaking to some of my customers when one of the staff members asked what the scar on my neck was from. She made some assumptions and I told her my story while she ate. Like most people, after hearing my story, she didn’t know what to say but I’m ok with that. Usually I start asking questions about them to divert attention away from me. I asked about her job, what her responsibilities were in the office, her plans for Thanksgiving, etc. What’s great is that typically when you actively listen to someone, they will continue to speak and open up (at least that’s been my experience). She ended up telling me all kinds of things from her job woes to her food allergies but ended up talking about her strained relationship with her kids. She had been a single mom for a very long time and now that her sons were grown and out of the house they were no longer speaking to each other. She teared up talking about some events that led to the situation and how hurt she was, but pride on both sides prevented them from speaking and she wasn’t going to be the first to apologize,hmmmm…sad. She said she has grieved the relationship with her sons like a death in the family and she will always have a broken heart because of it; sounds like ‘sorry’ would be easier.

I have a few scars, one on my neck from cancer, one on my shin from banging my leg into a car door, and probably a few that I don’t remember. Every scar tells a story, either a funny one or maybe a difficult one, but either way, it’s a wound that’s been healed while also leaving it’s mark.’Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.’~ Cormac McCarthy. What about the scars you don’t see? The ones left by hurt, words, anger, discouragement, do those heal? I think it takes a really long time and maybe, without the ‘sorry’ and forgiveness, will never heal. My daughter recently showed me a picture that her friend drew of herself. I was shocked and saddened to see this self portrait because it showed a girl, sad and scarred pulling a mask away from her face; the mask was of a beautiful smiling girl. Being a woman and a mom of a teenage girl, I know how hurtful girls and other women can be to each other and because of my past I am fully aware of how damaging words and actions can be. When scars heal they change the texture of your skin, what about the damage of scars on your heart and soul? The hurt always alters something. ‘It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.’~Rose Kennedy

We are all damaged and scarred to some degree and we should remember that when speaking to each other. How do scars of the heart heal? Kindness, peace, patience, love, sound familiar? (Galatians 5:22-23). Some scars run deep and are easily injured again, be patient, continue moving forward. Maybe your heart won’t be the same, but like the scars on your skin, you’ll be a little bit tougher.

Today I’m wearing Cherry Chapstick, it’s a throwback kinda day! Cheers!

PTSD

9 Nov

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Yesterday I met with a good friend whose fiancé just finished his last cancer treatment. She asked what life was like after cancer and what to expect emotionally, physically, etc. This one’s tough to answer because everyone is different. My fight is a little different than some because my cancer has come back a few times, but I believe most of the emotions are the same whether you were diagnosed once, twice, or however many times. Cancer is cancer. There is no easy cancer. Being told you have cancer, then mustering up all you have to fight back is one thing, but after? When they tell you ‘you’re done’? It’s a little like post traumatic stress disorder; trying to cope and adjust after a terrifying or traumatic event. It’s been almost three years since my last treatment and I just recently got my first totally clean bill of health, ever, believe it or not, I feel like I’m going through a grieving process…again. I’m sad that I can’t trust my own body. I was in my 30’s, healthy and active when this all started and boom, I find out there are cells I can’t see inside of me trying to kill me. I’m sad that I can’t do some of the things I used to do without struggling to breathe because of the attack on my neck. I’m sad that my kids are afraid to ask what my test results are and I’m even more sad that I scared them because they’ve seen me so sick. I’m sad that I wasted so much time and energy worrying about stupid inconsequential stuff before I had cancer; stupid stuff is just that…stupid. There are so many things to grieve because after cancer and dealing with your mortality, you not only think about where you came from, but more importantly, of where you want to be. I recently visited a friend who is a massage therapist and polarity therapist . After her treatment I asked her what my body was telling her and she told me that besides the overwhelming feeling that my body was in constant self protection mode (not healthy), that I had a broken heart. Guess what, it made me sad. Now, I have known her for a very long time and she told me she remembers a girl with a fire inside of her, I replied, ‘I miss her too.’

What happens now? ‘The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.’ ~ Eleanor Roosevelt. Count me in. Despite the sadness, I am alive. Some of the great things post cancer is that I’m more patient, I don’t worry about stupid stuff, I try to understand people better and listen to their stories, I have less fear, I dream bigger, I care less about what people think of me, I love deeper, and yes, my heart breaks even more. I’m less tolerant of anger, hate, and jerks in general. After the first surgery my prognosis was bad. When you’re given an end date your perspective on life changes a little; I’m more focused on peace, adventure, and how I want the rest of my ‘living’ to look like. I’m hoping someday to regain more confidence in my body cooperating with me, and I’m hoping to find that girl with the fire inside of her once again. Life is short and it’s totally worth living.

Today I wear Kat Von D Painted Love Lipstick in Hellbent…yeah, it’s red! These lipsticks have lots of color but are surprisingly rich and moisturizing (although not as moisturizing as some of the others). I chose this color mainly for the name; I have so many shades of red lipstick but who could resist the name? Hellbent on living life! Cheers!

Worth It

27 Sep

Recently a close friend of mine went through a terrible break-up.  If you knew her you would know that she is a beautiful, strong and intelligent  woman.  As I listened to her weep on the phone from a broken heart, I wondered if it was worth it.  Three years of ups and downs, being completely vulnerable only to be left with a broken, scarred, insecure self.  Was it worth it?  Is it worth it to lay your soul bare?  I venture to say ‘yes’. I asked her this same question just a few days after the break up and she agreed without hesitation that yes, it was completely worth it.  She was able to open her heart and feel several degrees of emotion and is now a richer person because of it.  She opened herself up to love and to feel love, but when she did that, she also opened herself up to feel the hurt.

With all that’s transpired in my life over the past few years with cancer constantly coming back and reminding me that life is short, I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  I used to be much more guarded and protective of my feelings, but I can’t do that anymore.  When I’m angry I express it, when I’m hurt or sad, I cry, and when I love, I can’t hold back and my heart overflows.  I feel extreme emotions, am I an emotional wreck?  Hardly.  Cancer has made me stronger mentally, but it has also made me a person who craves realness; real, raw emotions, real feelings, real people, no more games…not enough time.

My friend will recover and she’ll be stronger from the experience.  The danger happens when the scars build up and we don’t allow ourselves to heal.  Each time I have surgery on my neck there are new and additional scars, each surgeon has had to cut through the old layer of scars to get to the cancer.  It’s true of relationships too, the hurtful ones add to the old scars and it’s difficult cutting through those to open up.  But, I look at my scar on my neck and it’s a reminder that I am strong and I persevered, and I know myself better.  We are all creatures that crave love but , pardon the cliche’, we need to give love to get love.  Open yourself up and be real, take those risks.  You may get to know yourself a little better along the way too… it is worth it.

For today I chose Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment in Passion, a sheer crimson red lip balm that feels GREAT on your lips.  I chose it because it’s sheer enough to let your true colors shine through, but it’s red and called ‘passion’ so it’s a reminder to live and love passionately!

A New Year

4 Jan

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Every moment is a new beginning
Every handshake a promise
Every quest implicates the other just as every word can become prayer
If life is not a celebration why remember it
If life, mine or that of my fellow man is not an offering to the other, what are we doing on this earth~Elie Wiesel

The first week of 2019 is basically over. I had so many plans to continue some disciplines and add new ones beginning January 1; eating more vegetables, juicing for breakfast, doing at least 20 minutes of some type of exercise daily, meditating/praying first thing in the morning, setting a mantra for the day to set the tone, writing weekly/monthly goals, then ending the day writing in my gratitude journal. Well, four days into the new year and I have only done one, maybe two things off that list daily so far. Ugh but oh well. All good stuff and all in my subconscious so I will try every single day 🙂

The holidays were a whirlwind for me. All the kids were home, it was noisy, chaotic, messy, and we kept running out of food but it was great. There’s something as a mom about having everyone under one roof. I think despite the chaos, I slept better. There are moments I feel so strong and can compartmentalize my diagnosis. Since I’ve been stable over a year now, I’m mostly hopeful that I’ll be stable for a long time. On occasion however, thoughts of having cancer pulls me down. Thankfully, those occasions are moving farther and farther apart. Typically I’m reminded of my cancer from difficulty breathing or my left arm going numb but this time it was different. I was reminded of my cancer out of gratefulness. After being surrounded by family and friends over the holidays, I realized the very things I was so grateful for were the exact things I will miss, my family and friends. It’s crazy but the more thankful I felt for everyone being around, the more sad (and angry) I felt for having cancer. Ugh again. It comes back to the importance of relationships, it’s what we’re made for.

Well, it’s a new year and I have a new word for the year. Renewal. I was reading a prayer devotional a few weeks back and that word popped out and I felt a stirring in my heart. The best definition I found (applicable to me) was ‘the repair of something worn out, run down, or broken’. It’s a rebuilding. I’m not sure why God has put this word in my heart but every time I hear it (which has been fairly constant since then) I feel something. Faith, hope, my body, my soul…renewal. What’s your word?

The quote at the top speaks to both my word from last year (joy), and transitions to my word this year. If life is not a celebration why remember it? JOY. Every moment is a new beginning. RENEWAL. Happy New Year everyone!

Today I wear The Lipstick Journey lipstick in Serene because that color means Peace to me. It’s a brown/peach that can be worn every day. Cheers to 2019!

 

Pain and Church

16 Sep

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I saw a friend the other day that I haven’t seen in years. After the initial surface questions and conversation she broke down in tears. She shared about the many difficulties her daughter has had from a lifelong illness and also shared recent difficulties in her marriage. She expressed her exhaustion, her sadness and her hopelessness; she is at the end of her rope. As she was asking me how I was dealing with having cancer again my heart was breaking for her because she looked so defeated. What was more heartbreaking was after sharing her pain she said one of the last places she wanted to go was church; she’s angry with God, she didn’t want to be judged, and she didn’t want to hear any ‘Christian-ese’ talk. Knowing some of my past struggles and now cancer again she looked me straight in the eyes and asked, ‘How can you still have faith in God? How can you not be angry?’ Tough stuff. When did church become ‘unsafe’ for the heartbroken, hopeless, and weary? Why do we sometimes feel like we have to put on our ‘best face’ to go to church? These are just a few of the questions I’ve been asking myself for awhile.img_4188

I have a confession. When I first found out my cancer was back a year ago July, I also didn’t feel like going to church for awhile. Sometimes even now, over a year later, I still feel the same way. ‘With so much effort being poured into church growth, so much press being given to the benefits of faith, and so much flexing of religious muscle in the public square, the poor in spirit have no one but Jesus to call them blessed anymore.’~ Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church. I go to an awesome Christian church with great leaders and great people. I’ve been attending for over 20 years, have volunteered here, was on the worship team, and have gone on mission trips. I love it yet I wanted not to go after I got the news of cancer’s 4th return. Why? I can only speak for myself when I say that I didn’t want to put my happy, ‘God’s got this’ face on at a time when I felt raw, sad, and disappointed. I didn’t want to hear ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ or ‘God only gives you what you can handle.’  Phrases I’ve probably used before. Do we really think about things before we say them? I listened to a great interview with Dr. Caroline Leaf, a cognitive neuroscientist who spoke about this exact thing, watch it here. She says that Christians are so used to these words and phrases (‘Christianese’) that we have stopped thinking, have we? Maybe. These phrases, words, and easy responses sometimes take away from us listening, thinking and loving the people who are hurting. Words have power and when you’re hurting you hear every single word so when you are on the receiving end of these patent phrases that we use all.the.time. you can’t help but want to roll your eyes and think, ‘You have no idea.’ I’m sure it’s all well meaning.

So what was my response to my friend? I hugged her and stayed silent awhile. Then I told her I was so sorry she was in such pain and that I truly had no words. I told her to be gentle with herself, and that it’s ok not to smile. I look back at some of my pictures from the first few months post diagnosis and I’m smiling but my eyes are not. I told her I’m not mad at God and even though I don’t want to go to church sometimes I know that I still have God and more importantly He has me. I told her churches are filled with hurting people regardless of the shine of the facade but vulnerability and authenticity can only happen if we’re willing. I shared my pain and told her that illness and in her case, serious adversity can be lonely because most people can’t know exactly how you’re feeling. I told her that for me, that is the reason I can’t let go of my faith in God. At the end of the day if I don’t have faith that God is real, if I don’t have God to talk to and if I didn’t believe He loved me I would have nothing to hope for after this life and there would be no possibility of joy in crappy circumstances. How do you convince a broken person that God loves her? You start showing God’s love by listening and loving. ‘Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. img_4187Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.’ I LOVE that quote from Morgan Harper Nichols. In my low moments I don’t remember many conversations but I do remember the encouraging notes, those who sit and pray with me, and the many hugs with no words…love. Can we think on our own and not defer to a Christian-ese phrase as a response to someone’s pain? ‘No one leads people to Jesus; He leads people to Himself. All the pressure’s off; just go love everybody without agenda.’~Bob Goff

Today I’m feeling the red lipstick just because. I chose Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Love Drunk which is a deep red. Love the name, love the color. Cheers!

Amazing and Awful

27 Jun

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‘Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.’~L.R. Knost

Isn’t that the truth? Last Friday I took my daughter to her college orientation. Leaving her at the dorm the night before was awful (for me) and as I sat there in the silence of my hotel room I got teary-eyed thinking about all of my time with her leading up to this point. The orientation itself went well and it was pretty great seeing her be independent, meeting people, socializing, asking questions, I was so proud of the person she has become and is becoming. We ended the day by driving to northern Michigan to spend a few days at the lake; awful to amazing in less than 24 hours with some ordinary time to relax and exhale in between.

Last week I had my 3 month CT scan and as much as this has become a routine for me I was still anxious. I mean, I guess there are some things to be anxious about. I have formed a love/hate relationship with this because as much as I want to know if my cancer is stable, growing, (or gone), I also don’t want to know. I got the results over patient portal a few days ago and met with my doctor today. Right now ALL NECK AND

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They made me wear this today because I’m coughing

LUNG NODULES ARE STILL STABLE!!  Whew! So, awful last week, amazing today, and really awful (having cancer) and amazing (having stable disease) at the same time. There’s my current struggle. How do I act, process, make decisions and have lots of amazing moments but still have the awful undercurrent of cancer all.the.time.? Do I ignore it? Do I pretend I don’t have cancer and go about my merry way? Having cancer is not in my face all the time but it’s always looking at me through my rear view mirror, you know what I mean? It’s just always there so when prepping for my daughters prom, graduation, college orientation, it’s joyful and exciting but then in my ‘rear view mirror’ I’m reminded cancer follows and I start hoping I’m around for my son to do the same in a few years. Right now I’m 60/40; 60% looking forward , 40% distracted by cancer but I want to get to 90/10. How awesome would it be to have cancer thoughts only pop up 10% of the time. How awesome would it be to not have longer term visions and decisions be tinged with ‘but wait, I have cancer’; thoughts of retirement, grandkids, travel, etc. intertwined with I have cancer that’s really waiting to party in my body. It’s weird. I know I can’t ignore it or control it and I also know I don’t want it to consume me and influence every decision I make. Hmmmm . I was reading about courage again and read, ‘Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point and does not break.’~unknown

Here’s the good news. I don’t feel broken yet so maybe I’m brave. Maybe I have courage. My doctor told me today that since I’ve been consistently stable for the past year, we are going to stretch my CT scans to 6 months unless something changes in how I feel. I don’t want to hold my breath for 6 months. Maybe I’m feeling funky because it’s scan week. All I know is I want to live this ‘..heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life.’ I’ll take the awful, ordinary, mundane, and routine and be more intentional seeking out the amazing!

Today I wear Chantecaille Lip Chic lipstick in Nocturne. I LOVE these lipsticks. They have great color and are super moisturizing. I chose this color because it’s a bright berry which is perfect for summer or when your allergies make you look blah and you want just one pop of color! Cheers!

Fragile

28 Feb

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A week ago I was in India for a mission trip. I am still jet lagged, feeling blessed and grateful, while broken-hearted, but I had to get back on a plane and travel for a work meeting for my company and am here now, corporate America, the polar opposite of where I just came from. I am still processing last week while trying to get through this week and all I can say is I feel extremely fragile, like the thinnest piece of glass that could  break with just the slightest touch. My emotions are riding so close to the surface it’s crazy.

Let me start by saying that my journey back to India started a few weeks beforehand when I sent out letters for monetary and prayer support. The money trickled in for both me and my daughter but quickly came to a dead end so I decided a private Facebook post would be a last ditch effort to raise money. Backing up some more I was praying for a stable scan (or even healing) so I would be able to go in the first place which thank God, my scan was stable. One week before the trip I img_1502got an evening text from an old coworker and friend which opened with,’You will go to India…’. What followed was an incredible monetary contribution which brought me to me knees in gratitude and I couldn’t stop the tears (thank you BAS). Within the next couple days the donations were enough to cover me and most of Audrey and where they came from stunned me and filled my heart with love and gratitude.

What can I say about being in India? It’s difficult to articulate; almost 200 kids filled with joy. They have no cell phones, no television, no video games, and basically none of the luxuries the kids in suburban America have but they were all smiles, all laughter. Then there was the Agape Home for the elderly. This one was/is hard for me. These people have been through life, worked hard for their family, yet they find themselves here. Many abandoned by their family because they could no longer provide or work and they were just another mouth to feed in a country filled with poverty. Looking in their eyes was heartbreaking yet they were being loved and cared for and they had each other; simple joy. We played, prayed, and loved them and the kids for a week and they gave us joy, longing, and love back. The goodbye was tough and when they raised their hands to pray for us I broke. They have so little but they still have faith, joy, and love and as they prayed I looked at their faces and wondered why we complicate life so much.img_1677img_1587

On the plane ride home I watched a beautiful documentary called Human which can be found on YouTube. I recommend it to everyone. After watching I cried more and was overwhelmed with the beauty of people and their stories. The filmmaker asks the same questions to people from around the world from a remote African tribe to the US and he ‘confronts the realities and diversity of human conditions.’ Once again my heart broke and I came home desperate to figure out a way to somehow help the world.

So here I am. In my room after a day long meeting in a nice hotel still processing my trip; the poverty, the simplicity, and wanting to save the world but add to all of this…I have cancer. I can barely take it. Did I mention my daughter who is graduating high school soon was able to come with me to India? Oh my heart and for the who-knows-how-many-times since I found out my cancer is back, I am mad and sad and frustrated that right this minute, I. Have. Cancer. Life is fragile and fleeting. My emotions will adjust themselves and I’ll be ok. How can we love the world more? How can I make a change? How can we BE the change? Love God, love others with however much time you have.

Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.’~Mother Teresa

’We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop’~Mother Teresa

No lipstick today, don’t feel like it…cheers 🙂

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