When you have a cancer diagnosis, an interesting thing happens. People look at you with extremely sad eyes. They are afraid for you. They are afraid for themselves. I want to be clear that I totally appreciate the love – I do. But the fear and sadness – gotta go. Folks – your eyes need to tell a different story.
I remember once reading about a group of men who were interviewed regarding behaviors that made them feel demoralized as men. They were all very simple and small things. When a woman crossed the street to avoid passing them on the sidewalk – or hugged her purse more tightly as she walked past. Those small actions told these men that they were perceived as potentially dangerous. This made them feel terrible.
When someone looks at me with utter sadness – in my heart I know that they just hate that I have to go through this – BUT – it makes me feel as though I am in a situation that is far more perilous than I realize. It is the old “the monster is behind me – right?” I have news for that monster – this ain’t my first rodeo.
I have a list of illnesses and surgeries that frankly makes me look like a pathological liar when I go to a new doctor and have to fill out yet another form (as – apparently no one ever actually KEEPS a form, or FILES a form, or transposes your information to a file on a newfangled device like a COMPUTER).
Here is what I know. Ultimately – illness is a gift. You have the opportunity to see life for what it is – precious and fragile. You recognize the beauty in others far more readily than anything ugly. Illness is a fantastic way to kick your priorities into place. I would bet my last dime that internet trolls are the healthiest people (if not mentally) on the planet. In the midst of illness, you just don’t have the time to argue with the world. Your faith is tended and watered – and it blooms.
Is it difficult? Yes. Is it scary? At times. Would you wish it away? Maybe not – when you know the kind of growth that will be yours resulting from the process.
So – instead of those sad eyes – how about we agree to see through new eyes together? Maybe brainstorm for ways to be more kind? Look for beauty? Pray in faith – believing the BEST? Plan for healing, health, and strength for us all?
See how beautiful that is?