August 26, 2010
Our house was built on an old cherry orchard and we named our house “Peaceful Orchard.” Which brings me to the next subject.
Peace. After such turmoil and change, I am peaceful; a sense of well-being resides in my soul.
When I last wrote in my blog, I was in the midst of another “adjustment.” I failed at Indian camp in June. I did not know what had happened to me and why I couldn’t accomplish such menial tasks – but I crumbled. I was at a loss and I felt I needed the help of Sally, my therapist.
We met and after the third time together revelations about myself and where I was in this post cancer journey knocked me on my head.
The first revelation was I got past treatment, I got past the initial recovery, I dealt with a broken leg and surgery, I went through an emotionally difficult time and finally adjusted to and accepted the fact I had cancer. So in essence, my crisis cancer journey came to an end.
My failure at Indian camp was my first challenge at being the new me, the post cancer me, and this new me was surprising and unexpected. I was so perplexed at this new person that I needed help in defining her.
In the second session with Sally, she challenged me to paint a weaving of me with the weft threads representing me and the warp all the circumstances and characteristics that were a part of my life before cancer and how they came through during and after cancer.
It took some thought. I approached this assignment very seriously and I wanted to see my life before, during and after cancer.
Remarkably, the paint colors were vibrant and alive and remained so all through the weaving. Initially, the warp threads all started with the same thickness. As the weave painting progressed, the thicknesses changed and one thread disappeared altogether.
Faith, marriage and family were at the top of the weaving. Those colors were true jewel tones and during and after cancer they blended together as one thread in a rich, deep purple. Friends came next and during cancer the blue thread swelled with all the support I received.
Other warp strands were named “responsible and order.” They remained the same in width and color before cancer. During treatment ORDER became a deep, solid purple and after treatment ORDER grew in such a width that it changed the whole design of the weave painting. I found this very interesting.
The strand named “athlete” was colored yellow and was strong before diagnose. Athleticism was very important to me before cancer. Being an athlete was a part of my identity challenging me to push beyond myself. After my cancer, this strand became narrower. This, too, was interesting to me.
The last strand I named “writer.” I never used to write and I found writing during treatment to present day very, very important and therapeutic for me. This strand became so large the blue ran off the paper.
But what was most revealing were the strands that came after “friends” towards the top of the painting. “Outgoing” was in orange and strong but became less so and more watered in color after cancer. “Ambitious, administrative and industrious” were blended strands and they became non-existent, they disappeared and a gaping hole was in the weaving from where they started.
When Sally and I discussed my weave painting, she noted the hole and questioned me on the significance of such a large gap. I thought quietly for a while. And then I burst into tears. My gosh, my insides were heaving in a lostness of these very strong, past characteristics. What happened to me and why am I feeling so lost?
And then I found myself saying that I used to be a leader and teacher and instructor. I encouraged people when they felt lost and helpless. My days as a Weight Watchers lecturer is an example of this leadership and help. I have always been one to “show someone the way” when they felt completely unable to find the way for themselves. And now I was the lost one sitting in the chair crying for someone to “lead” me; to tell me who I am and what I am to become after my cancer. I was searching for my leader and there was none.
I was shocked by this revelation but this revelation freed me from my impossible search for my instructor who was going to tell me who I was and what direction I should go. I relaxed and then I realized I was the instructor. My past and present will help me in my search for my future.
That was at the end of July and ever since then my soul has quieted down; I feel more settled. I am content and at peace.
My certainty is in Christ. The reality and beautiful magnificence of creation is my evidence of a Creator. I am thankful that the splendor I look out at assures me I need not go at this life alone. If my Creator swept His paintbrush across this globe, He can certainly take care of me.