I recently went for my 10th chemo session. I had passed the halfway mark but with this particular session I felt very lousy; even frustrated to some degree despite me receiving good news about my condition being “stable” and improving.
Many questions came to mind on this day:
Why is this taking so long?
It’s been more than 10 weeks already!
Why must I come to this same place every week, only to be pricked, drugged and made to feel like a zombi?
Why this horrible feeling of tiredness after each session?
This is such an inconvenience!
Many would call this “reality settling in.”
Prior to this occasion, I’ve always been in a good frame of mind; positive and optimistic.
Different people, overtime, have asked me whether I ever get into a space of feeling down and cry; whether the reality of my situation hit me so hard that I just break down.
THIS FELT LIKE THAT
Questions running through my mind.
A feeling of disgruntlement and why me, why now…
These feelings and attempts of discouragement I believe are real emotions we all go through. Similar to any successful achievements – be it studies, family life/relationships or work. We all feel like giving up at some time. How much more with the burden of a disease!?
Here’s the interesting part and how I’ve dealt with this:
When we embark on a journey in life, we know the start and we have a good idea when it will end. We are so well informed and resourced these days, we even know what potential hurdles we will face. In my case, my first chemo session was in March 2017; I knew it will run for 3 weeks at a time, with a break after each, and I know when it will end – September. Despite this, discouragement, doubt and frustration came knocking at my door as if I did not know where I’m heading.
For many of us, derailments even happen whilst we journey. The unexpected, most bizarre things happen and in these moments, we even doubt ourselves and the plans we’ve made. It’s like divorce: I believe no one get’s married with the intention to divorce. Similarly, I don’t get into my car and drive it with the intention to crash it, we don’t commence studies toward a degree and at the onset, plan to throw in the towel halfway through the course, we don’t plan to go on holiday, pay the cost upfront and at the same time of payment, decide that we’ll give-up on the holiday whilst driving or flying to the destination. It’s all just crazy you might say.
When we embark on journeys such as studies, marriage or business – like I’ve embarked on chemotherapy – it would be prudent to keep the end in mind. In other words, the reason for the greater journey – irrespective what the “potholes” entail. Given that we’ve started these journeys having calculated the cost, we know that it will take time, effort and perseverance. We further know that derailment or delays may occur and we know that most of it will not be smooth sailing. The purpose. Why we’ve embarked on it, and we know the goal is because of the purpose.
But Tony, you may say, a dreaded disease like cancer is not something you’ve ask for or planned to have? True indeed, I say. I too had other plans for life. Plans which excluded cancer.
Within the journey towards the many goals I’ve set for myself and my family, cancer happened. A derailment occurred, arguably. Or we can see it as “life happened”. Irrespective – whether derailment or life – I’m of the view it’s to be used as part of my purpose (becoming evidently clearer and accelerated) woven into my everyday, ordinary life to achieve a greater good.
It reminds me of this Jesus, whom many regard as Saviour. His death meant life for all. A bad thing turned out to be good and beneficial. (That’s a blog for another day)
Here’s a scenario to consider: If you were driving for many hours toward a holiday destination and whilst going there, you see the most beautiful scenery, a waterfall and breathtaking greenery. Are you just going to pass it by due to the long drive or will you stop and take pics – even a selfie!? Or better still: you get to the cashier to pay for your goods and as you pay the cashier tells you, because you are customer number 100,000 you have been awarded 10 times the value of your goods. Will you refuse that gift? You instead instantly forget the pain and time it took to get to the store, go aisle-by-aisle shopping, and standing in a long queue to pay.
See, as humans we are quick to recognise the good in good, heartwarming experiences but slow or even blind to see the same in so-called negative situations and experiences.
More than often purpose and destiny has thorns on its way up to the ‘rose’. We must accept and get pass the thorns to appreciate the rose.
Dead-ends does not necessarily mean its the end. Ask Moses who had the Red Sea ahead of him, surrounded by mountains and chased by Egyptians with no way out.
Detours also don’t mean its time to give up because its taking too long. Ask the Israelites who travelled through the desert for years on a journey which was suppose to be days but eventually accessed the land of milk and honey.
I’ve come to believe that our everyday challenges, dead-ends and detours – including a diagnosis – are opportunities and stepping stones to fulfilling greater, beautiful tomorrows. Purpose. It’s how you and I see it that matters.
So, I will no longer ask “Oh God, why me!?”
I’d rather state the following in faith: “Why not me, God!?”
I will not die in the middle of my destiny.
God’s Got This.