What is the first thing you think of when you wake up these days? If you’re anything like me, you can hear Sonny and Cher singing “I’ve Got You Babe” in your head, and begin to prepare yourself for another Groundhog Day. It is not a happy thought–just ask Bill Murray. Although some things are monotously the same, life has a way of throwing unexpected curveballs at you. Since the time I last updated this blog, my nearby aunt abruptly passed away and family members in another state experienced a tragic, life-altering automobile accident. My granddaughter is facing her next open heart surgery soon which effects all of us, particularly her loving and devoted parents. There is nothing “safe” about this life even when you are hunkered down at home.
In two months I have seen my tumor marker increase by 21, 40, and now 68 points, in 3 week increments. It is now up to 441 which means the tumors are growing faster. I was a bit shocked and discouraged at this last increase, but the every day challenges of those that I love, and even those I don’t know, put things into perspective for me. I don’t have any new recommendations for curing or slowing cancer, nor am I even looking for them at this point. I look only to live each day choosing JOY over cynicism. For those who know me well, you understand the mountain I have to climb but I am working on it.
May a recommend a few things that have helped me:
Although I usually plant a garden of both vegetables and flowers, I am limited in what I can do physically now so that is not happening this year. But each year I decorate the front porch with geraniums and potted flowers (see featured image above). They add color and joy to my life, and hopefully to the lives of people who walk or drive by the house.
I discovered a new TV show called “Grace Notes” on BYU-TV which is on Sundays but can be watched at any time at byutv.org. It features popular musicians and their stories of discouragement, faith and the uplifting influence of music in their lives. Twenty-five minutes of pure joy.
I watched the story of an angry, cynical journalist whose life was transformed after he was assigned to interview Mr. Rogers. It’s called “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” with Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers. It will uplift and bless your life, and you will love your family more.
And lastly, I read the story of Alice Marie Johnson in “After Life: My Journey From Incarceration To Freedom”. This is the woman who was convicted of drug charges and sentenced to life in prison for being a go-between for drug dealers. She freely admits she made a mistake, but rightfully submits that a life sentence without parole was too harsh. But the story wasn’t really about the rights and wrongs of the criminal justice system to me–it was about the incredible, beautiful way in which she faced her “hopeless” life in a physical prison. She took the Bible, her faith, love and prayers and turned them into action which uplifted all around her. She wrote and organized yearly Christmas and Easter pageants, casting her fellow inmates as angels, shepherds and wise men. She volunteered in a hospice wing, holding and listening to women who had been forgotten by society and their own families. It is a story of hope–that is, a hope rooted in trusting God and his promises.
“Happy is he,” said the Psalmist, “that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” (Psalm 146:5)