Tag Archives: anne lamott

The Stories We Tell

10 Jan

It’s a New Year and the past month has not been an easy one. My December story was going to be one filled with joy and reunion. Literally a month ago we were putting up our Christmas tree and decorations, my excitement for my three kids to come home was building since I hadn’t seen two of the three since August and none of them could be home for Thanksgiving. Also, we had a quick trip planned to Florida because my firstborn son was graduating with his doctorate two weeks before Christmas. My December was going to be amazing, but the story changed. The morning of December 12 we brought my dad to the hospital because we thought he was showing signs of a stroke and a few days later we found out it was brain cancer. In a few short days and the day before my son’s graduation, my dad’s health took a major turn for the worse and I had to make the difficult decision to not attend. My heart broke in a thousand pieces both for my dad and for missing a major milestone of my son.

On Faith. I had a friend ask the other day, ‘With everything you’ve been through, how can you not be mad at God? or do you ask God why?’ My answer? ‘I don’t get mad at God, I get mad at people saying dumb things. Making assumptions about what God’s intentions are or what His thoughts may be, making Him actually smaller.’ The God I follow would not create a story of hardship to teach you a lesson or to increase your faith the hard way. Does God give His strongest soldiers the hardest battles? I sure hope not because what does that even mean? No. The God I love and follow holds our hand through hardships because life is hard sometimes. God to me looks like kindness, generosity, laughter, that phone call, God is all around. The Jesus I follow is one of love, compassion, and mercy no matter who or what. The Jesus I pray to brings me peace and comfort because I believe He hears me. I read somewhere that the opposite of faith is certainty. I don’t need to have all the answers, I don’t want them, but I will continue to listen, question, read, and learn. I love my kids so much that I would do anything for them, does God love you less? I will not give up on God or my faith but there are ‘whys’ we will never be able to answer and me personally…I’m ok with that.

On Joy. Fr. Ken Tanner said this in his sermon last weekend (I’m probably paraphrasing), ‘Joy–in the midst of life you see something that reminds you existence is good, God is good. Despite the circumstances life is good and experiences are worthwhile. Happiness is fleeting and circumstantial.’ Despite the circumstances of the last month, there were MANY moments of joy and that is where I want to live. Although we weren’t able to go to AJs graduation, we were able to watch virtually and when my dad watched him cross the stage he pointed in recognition and cried. Christmas was spent in the hospital but having everyone there was again such a joyful moment. There was the day when my dad was finding his words again and when the PA asked him how old he was he said ’25’ followed by him chuckling and saying ‘kidding’. Then twice, the therapy dog that walked into the room was named Roxy, the name of my dad’s dog that passed away over the summer. The first time Roxy came in there was a parade of dogs in the hall that my brother and I were watching but she was the one that turned toward the room. Many have chosen a word of the year and I usually have a word or two but this year I have more of an intention: seek tiny joys. So many joy moments reminding me that simply existing was good and that God is still so good.

On Hope. Anne Lamott says, ‘Hope springs from that which is right in front of us, which surprises us, and seems to work.’ What does that even mean? To me it means I woke up to another day of life. It looks like a hot cup of coffee, an unexpected gift, a word of encouragement. Hope looks a lot like love. Anne Lamott’s words once again, ‘Against all odds, no matter what we’ve lost, no matter what messes we’ve made over time, no matter how dark the night, we offer and are offered kindness, soul, light, and food, which create breath and spaciousness, which create hope, sufficient unto the day.’

Enough of my babbling. I’m grateful for life, for having my kids home even though it wasn’t exactly the way we had planned. I’m grateful to be married to someone who has been by my side and helping me navigate through the most horrendous things (my Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, my son’s stroke, and now my dad’s health crisis all in the short time we’ve been married). I’m grateful that I’ve had a job that helps me understand medical language and my own diagnosis to help me advocate better for myself and my dad; for a great boss, great friends, the Instagram friends that emailed me Starbucks gift cards, notes, and even small care packages. Tomorrow I have my 6 month PET scan because I still have cancer. The good part is that because of what happened with my dad I forgot all about it and did not have to suffer from my regular two weeks of scanxiety, the bad part is that from now until I get the results on Friday I will have scanxiety. This is my story, This is life.

%d bloggers like this: