Faith & Gratitude
SPIRITUAL REFLECTIONS ABOUT THIS REMARKABLE JOURNEY

Clarity that the suffering can serve a purpose.  I have been chosen for this suffering - but if there is a divine plan, the main story line may not be about me.

Greater patience and love for others.  There may be friends and family that I do not hear from.  In the past I may have assumed they did not care or maybe felt a little betrayed.  This time around it bothers me less.  I have grown to realize that people often just don't know what to say and they feel hopeless.  They do not like to think about me being terminally ill any more than I do.  Also their life is moving on without this being at the center of it.  That is reality and I realize that I would not wish that to be any different.  

Greater faith in His promises.   I have already gone through the trenches with Him many times over.  He has proven to me that He really can be trusted to be there and to keep those promises.  I have had first hand experience with this has been the best teacher.   

Greater capacity for living with ambiguity and unanswered questions. 

There is freedom in surrender.  Surrendering is not natural and is never easy.  However, it takes moments of feeling so lost and dark for me to recognize that I just need to surrender to His light and guidance.   Each and every time I am rewarded with inexplicable lightness of heart and freedom.  During these times, I am most fully aware of God's sovereign goodness as well as His all encompassing love for me and for others that guides, and protects and is total grace.  

Allow more time for prayer, journaling and self-reflection.   Eugene Peterson has said that prayer is an effective tool for being and becoming - not doing.  It is more about listening than speaking.  I have tried to be more of a student of this way of thinking this time around.  

To prioritize quality of life and self-care.    Self care is a foreign concept until now but takes the forefront in terms of priorities by necessity.  I am finding it to be both a novel and rewarding experience to actually carve out time for myself and what feels like selfish interests that now I justify as possibly lengthening my life here and time with others and thus that long walk or extra time for sleep can now be considered a less selfish act.  

The bottom line (and I feel is a result of all of the above) is that many days this time around I find myself feeling a deep down, soul-level peace and joy that is not from me.  I have described myself to others as feeling like I am a "happy soul in a worn-out body." 

Conquering Fear of Transparency.  This has been a big one for me because I tend to be more comfortable caregiving than being totally honest and putting myself out there.  It has been very helpful to quiet the demons to have the support and encouragement of close friends and family who have asked to hear my story and have encouraged me to tell it as openly and honestly as possible.