How Do You Remember Such a Day?
What makes a day memorable?
The significance of a day often comes from celebration. We find someone’s birthday a special event to be enjoyed every year with balloons, gifts and cake. A day may also be stamped into our memory when there is death. We will never forget when we lost someone dear to us.
Another reason we remember the significance of a day is because of accomplishment. High school graduation is a time of memory making (and money making, according to Jostens). It could also be a personal achievement, like the first (and last) time you ran a 5k race.
The most unpredictable moments can also make a day memorable. June 23rd and September 29th will always be special to me. I will never forget the two days when each of my sons was introduced to the world.
Many know unpredictable moments can be traumatic. A former coworker of mine will never forget the day his parents were killed in a home invasion while he hid under the bed.
Through all the ways a moment is etched in our minds we learn that a day is memorable because of the effect it has on our life. From that day on, you are no longer a child. . . no longer childless. . . no longer with the one you love. . . no longer in college. . . no longer innocent.
Two years ago today, my world was permanently tumbled upside down when I was told I had breast cancer.
What to Do with Such a Day?
Each year since then, I see that day coming on the calendar. A sick feeling boils in my stomach as I consider, “What do you do with such a day?”
My initial reaction is to pretend that it never happened.
Sure… if only I could… Just like the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, everyone knows words hurt, and so does the memory of such a painful day. Something I could NEVER ignore.
As the time drew closer last year, I became more bothered about it. There was no way I was going to celebrate something so difficult. That moment of diagnosis was like stepping on a land mine. Everything was blown apart.
But, I felt I needed to acknowledge it, memorialize the battle I have been fighting ever since. Much like the loss of a loved one, I have had to grieve the loss of the life I knew as a fully capable, healthy mother, wife, full-time 4th grade teacher, and try to make sense of the confusion and scars that I was left with.
What Have These Years Done?
I am celebrating today, maybe not with songs or parties, but I am rejoicing in the fact that I have come this far. It has been a hard road, these past two years; the hardest of my life. And as much as I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy, I know that I have learned a whole lot about myself.
Through it all, I have been forced out of a reliance on my self and my own strength. I found a very inspirational book when I first started fighting. It is a free little .pdf online called Don’t Waste Your Cancer by John Piper. What a crazy thought that having cancer is an opportunity. . . but that’s what it was.
I took the opportunity to believe God was going to see me through and have found Him faithful, extremely loving and perfectly capable of managing everything that I could not control.
And that’s what I found, too. I found myself face to face with all the ways I was not in control. We really don’t realize how little control we have, and it’s okay. We usually screw things up when we do have control anyway. ; )
What to Wish For?
On that day two years ago, I robotically got into my car and drove out of the hospital parking lot with my head spinning. I made it about three-fourths of a mile before I realized I probably shouldn’t be driving. I happened to pull into the parking lot of a sweet little florist shop I had visited before and told myself that after I had finished calling my parents and brothers to tell them the news, I was going to go in that shop and buy something beautiful. And that’s just what I did.
As the calendar turned to April 9th last year and again today, I visited that shop and bought myself something beautiful. The flowers remind me that as short as life is, it can blaze into a beauty that remains long after it is gone. The sun rises and sets so rapidly each day. My hope is to become better at finding the beauty hidden within.
As I look into the future, not knowing what twists and turns await, I ache for a freedom from fear. I’m learning to trust in the One-Who-Holds-It-All, but I still flinch a bit as the earth spins around at a 1,000 mph pace.
Another wish I have for this coming year is for more contentment. I am learning to say that what I’ve done (or haven’t even come close to doing) for today is good enough. The limited amount of energy I have shouldn’t be wasted on fretting over what I was incapable of doing. If I did my best to care for my family as well as myself, then it has been a great day.
Now there’s only 364 more to go. . .
How about you? What ways do you remember those days that are most challenging? What do you hope for as you remember them?
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