September 23, 2010
We built the house of our dreams. It was a little over a six month process. When I entered the house for the first time, I was not disappointed, every decision we made was the right decision and even more so. I loved every aspect of our house from the layout to the openness, from the fire place stone to wall colors to the floor coverings. Everything was perfect!
We chose wood flooring in the hallways and in the kitchen. I looked for exactly the right hard wood; the grain patterns, the blemishes and knots and the color. I wanted a wood that had hints of pink or reds in it, our cabinet stain was cherry and one of the color schemes of the house was cherry red. I found the right wood, beech.
The wood floor was perfect.
We love dogs. We have our little mini schnauzer, Madaline. My mom and dad and my brothers’ family have dogs, too. When we have a dinner gathering at our house, all the dogs are invited to join in the fun.
Mom and Dad’s dog, Boomer, came over one day. He did not like cats and we have two cats. Typical Minnie the cat meandered out to see what all the commotion was about and Boomer alerted on her and went after her. In the chase, he rounded a corner on the wood floor and his hind legs “skidded” out from under him. There is a nice arched claw scratch on the wood floor by the refrigerator.
Now Mom and Dad have Abby. She is not quite a year old so she is full of puppy. She is also invited to our house. Abby does not chase cats but, in her puppy spunk, she runs circles around the living room and into the kitchen. Well, there is a fair share of her claw scratches, too, in the wood floor.
My wood floor was perfect. I loved the grain, the character and the color. I couldn’t ask for a better choice in flooring. And now it was marred, scored by dog claws.
But rather than rant and rave and yell at my parents to never bring their dog over again, I accepted the marks as our love for our four-legged family members and I decided the claw “spin out” scratches brought family character into our home.
This last Tuesday, I had my sixth month exam. Dr. Glenn said all tests resulted in continued complete remission. Even as she said it, I was amazed. After a hellish one year, nearly two years later, I still am cancer free.
Driving home I thought to myself, what was the purpose of having cancer? One, I didn’t ask for it; two, it was dog gone hard; and, three, now it is as if I never had it? I was a little miffed at having cancer, the black cloud started to build.
Then I caught myself. It seemed that after big appointments like this, I become dark and questioning. I was not going to let that happen this time. After all, isn’t it great news to be told I remain cancer free?
So I made a mental choice to reverse the converging darkness and I believe God gave me the picture and lesson of the wood floor.
My life was “perfect” before cancer. It was everything I could hope for. We were retired, we moved to Montana, we were building our dream house – and more wonderful things were waiting for us on the horizon of our life.
And then, I was diagnosed with cancer. The claw marks of cancer began marring my perfect life. As we were skidding along and spinning out through the days of treatment, scratches were permanently indenting my life.
Then I realized as we drove through Salt Lake City looking for a chocolate shop, I could rant and rave and be angry or I could look at the scarring as character, life character. And I chose to see my cancer and my experience as life building character.
I couldn’t believe it! I used to flip out when a cancer survivor would say their cancer was a positive experience in their life. One woman even said cancer was a blessing. I was shocked and angered by that comment. And, now, I was thinking to myself that my experience brought character into my life. Oh, how time and perspective heals!
When I was sick I was prayed for by so many people for a quick and complete healing right then at that time. That healing didn’t come.
That physical healing didn’t come but something deeper and greater and purer was happening in my life. What character I had in my life was being tested by the heat of fire and the dross from my gold was melting and separating so that a purer gold remained – and a more valuable gold, too.
In my recovery, I didn’t understand that heat. I was frustrated and confused, I felt guilty and a failure in my personal faith. But it was all for a reason. I don’t feel like the “reason” has materialized yet, but one day it will.
So what I thought were scratches and mars and scarring are only the beautiful marks of a developing character in my life. I love my wood floor and I love my life!