So, while I’m setting up my life to write and move out of ruts, another storyline has entered, one that will take up time and place. It must.
My mother is in a six-month chemo treatment for cancer. The prognosis is good at this point. Still the menace that is cancer looms over us. We wonder what side effects this treatment will produce. How will schedules need to be adjusted this time? What food will be palatable?
Cancer redefines the road ahead. Scheduled activities are put on hold until we see what happens. Regular volunteer efforts are on hiatus. A tension hovers over the house. A workshop on story that I was looking forward to attending is now a heavy task as I figure out how to go and still be present. I’ll likely return home a day early.
In all this, how do I not succumb to this thief of life? Cancer does not have to redirect all our energy to its treatment. In fact, such a change means that it wins. The challenge before me is to live an abundant life even with this cancer in the family. It is difficult to focus on the important and best each day instead of just getting through. However, maybe the root of my problem is the definition of an abundant life. It’s not about living in a world without difficulties, a world designed just for me. No, it is living fully in the real mess of life that now contains many more activities out of my control.
Part of me wants to fight these intrusions on my time. Yet, I am beginning to see that instead of glaring at them with frustration, I can see them in a new light. Spending time to research, shop for, and prepare food that is appetizing and has plenty of protein, fiber and calories provides a space for my sister, nieces, and me to work together. Going to doctor appointments makes me slow down my own schedule and prioritize activities – even giving myself permission to take breaks, enjoy a walk, work in a garden, or eat a lunch out.
In John 10:10 Jesus reminds us that the thief comes to kill and steal and destroy; however, he has come that people might have life. Instead of conceding to defeat, I’m now looking at the next months as a time to more fully define an abundant life. If I’m not going to journey towards a story across the ocean, I can travel more deeply into the one here at home.