Had to give myself a reality check today.
After discovering the news yesterday (I’m late to knowing) that Shannen Doherty (who will forever be Brenda Walsh to me) is now dealing with brain metastasis from her Stage IV breast cancer, I went a huntin’ for allllll the rabbit holes (unhelpfully).
I didn’t intend to; it’s a visceral reaction. Maddeningly enough, it’s also an inconsistent feeling. In what seems like most of the time, I can hear and process the scariest cancer-related stories from others and feel what I believe I should – prayerful compassion for the person dealt such a cruel hand.
Then there are the other times. When my inner spark starts to dwindle, and I feel yanked by the ankles back down to the harsh reality that cancer cells are as evil as they are sneaky.
She too was in her forties when first diagnosed. She too endured chemo to further reduce her risk of recurrence. While I didn’t have any lymph node involvement, she had one. And to be super clear, they only took five lymph nodes, so the pathology confirmed that there were no active cancer cells in those five (the most likely ones where it would appear, but as with most everything in this life, there are no guarantees).
These were chilling bedtime thoughts, and I knew I wasn’t adding a day to my life (or any peace to my slumber) by pondering them. But I couldn’t help myself.
Thank God for Sunday!
Back in my normal pew, sitting by the familiar faces I look forward to seeing, singing praise songs and focusing on the lyrics, opening my Bible, reading along with the pastor, really letting the key Scripture passages from Sunday School sink in and feed my soul.
It set me right again.
I kind of laughed to myself there in the sanctuary, thinking about how just a few mornings ago, I was having a full-on debate in my head over the health (or lack thereof) of my breakfast.
A homemade egg muffin (no ham cup because I’m trying to avoid cured meats, even though they are partially proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy). With crumbled sausage, fresh spinach leaves, and cheese. There I was, still trying to self-educate on the best food and movement choices to get back into normal blood sugar range (I mean, step aside cancer recurrence fears. I got sumpin’ new to worry about!), and I was beating myself up over the choice to use a processed meat (pork sausage). Would ground turkey be a healthier choice? Yep, and I’ll prolly do that next time.
But where does the well-intentioned restriction actually end? For all I know, I could be obsessing over the maybe someday diabetes cloud hanging over my head, and then BAM! Cancer takes me out. Or a bus. Or whatever. Hopefully it’s more peaceful like the old lady in Titanic who passes in her sleep, but God only knows.
And to think of all the joyful experiences I might miss being so narrowly focused on how to prevent this or that terrible thing.
I’m not saying to throw accountability to the wind. But between reading the upsetting news of a sister survivor’s harrowing present, and the peace and joy I found this morning, something really cool took place.
I remembered who architects every aspect of my what’s to come (including all the scary and sad stuff that if any of us could peek into the future and see, we’d beg to skip right over). He goes before me and makes a way.
It was a much needed reminder that everything, no matter what, really will be ok.