I dealt with kanswer a little over a year ago.
My daughter had a serious health challenge of her own a few years back.
My father died of lung kanswer, and my mother still mourns for him, thirteen years later.
One brother is dealing with the devastation left in the wake of chronic illness.
My other two brothers still live with the fallout of divorce.
Their children wonder what the heck happened and why???
Broken bones. Fractured bones.
Broken promises. Broken hearts.
The list goes on and on and on. I've seen a lot of pain and suffering wash through my own life - and everybody else's as well.
But here's the thing - this little life of mine still shines.
There's lentil soup simmering on the stove on this rainy Monday afternoon.
There are bananas, lemons, limes, clementines, mangoes, and a cantaloupe on the counter.
My husband is talking to his colleagues on the telephone.
My son is upstairs watching English premier league soccer on television.
My daughter is working her way through her university studies with determination - most of the time - and tears - some of the time. (But isn't that the way we are all making out way through our messy, beautiful lives?)
My kids still like to talk to me and hang out with me - even though they are 20 and 17 years of age.
My double mastectomy scars are smooth and straight.
The lump that my chemo port used to create under my skin has disappeared.
My hair won't stop growing - now that I want to keep it short.
I'm getting more flexible with yoga and stronger with jogging.
My bifocals are helping me see a world I didn't know was out there.
The folks at my church welcome me with open arms every time I darken the door.
The seniors at Plantation Estates keep inviting me to come back and tell them more about what I understand about the Bible and to cry in front of them.
Some lovely latina ladies also seem to like watching this Americana use her Spanish-from-Spain lisp to share stories of this life journey of mine and how I've been turned upside down and inside out by the craziest story of virgin birth, miracles, love, life, death, and resurrection the world has ever heard.
Cuz if Jesus really was God and came to earth to live and die for us, if Jesus really did restore sight to the blind, talk to that lonely woman at the well, reach out and touch lepers and dead bodies and cast out demons from one of my favorite Bible characters, Mary Magdalene, then there is a really good chance that Jesus loves me too. That Jesus isn't afraid to reach out and touch me through the hands and words of doctors, nurses, friends, neighbors, as well as my husband and children. That my story isn't yet over, that joy and hope and peace and healing and wholeness and love will eventually win. Love always wins.
The truth is that I've faced down a few demons of my own - the demon of the fear of thunderstorms (I no longer hide in closets or crawl down the hallway to check on my children as I used to), the demon of the fear of death (we're all gonna die, so who am I to think I might be the exception to that rule?), the demon of worry about my husband and children's health (we've had so many great years together in mostly excellent health, so why do I worry about the future?), the demon of wishing I could live someone else's life (I would choose Mirka Federer, Roger's wife... except for the rumor that she is currently pregnant with a second set of twins), the demon of jealousy (did I mention that SHE makes all of her own clothes and SHE makes such awesome artwork and HE gets to travel all over the world whenever he wants to), and the demon of comparison (look at all HER blog readers and all of HIS friends and all of THEIR money in the bank) to name a few. Plus if kanswer isn't a demon, then I don't know what is! Certainly, those demons still lurk in the corners of my heart. As long as I'm alive, there will be battles for my heart and mind, body and soul; it's a part of this life's journey.
Yes, this little life of mine is raw and fragile,
broken and cracked,
lovely and lonely,
faithfull and doubtfull,
hopeful and joyful,
scarred and healed,
evergreen and also on its way to its inevitable conclusion,
messy and beautiful.
This little life of mine, it's the only one I will ever have,
so I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it SHINE.
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!