At the end of August I had my last chemo-session; this phase of my treatment lasted six months. It certainly is not the end of treatment. I can however attest to the fact that keeping a positive state of mind, remaining optimistic, and being surrounded by many people, who support and love me, helps a lot.
It feels like yesterday when all this started.
A doctor’s visit to check on an inverted nipple.
Tests. Painful tests.
Waiting for results.
Waiting for the results of chemotherapy.
It’s as if your entire life is in a state of “repair”.
Some days are just about fulfilling a routine. That’s about as much energy one has. And then there are other days when enough hope rise to conqueror the world. The realisation that this journey is not a bad dream, has long faded. And from time to time it feels like… chasing sunsets.
I consider myself an avid, aspiring-amateur photographer. I’ve got one incomplete photography course to my name, and coupled with that, loads of gusto to snap up everything around me, especially nature. Sunsets and pics just before sunset are my particular favourite. In this respect, I consider myself a sunset chaser. No doubt. I will snap the same sunset today, tomorrow… next week…
A poolside sunset pic taken recently.
The dictionary defines CHASING as “pursue in order to catch or catch up with”. Strangely, life can feel like a CHASING of sunsets. Hear me out.
Day in and day out. Routines become habits… habits become lifestyle.
Before you know it, days – no, months have passed.
And all this chasing in the hope of experiencing what some call “break through”, “a big break” or “my time to shine”.
Ordinary work-life becomes so hectic at times. Challenges seem insurmountable at the most awkward moments. I remember days where falling asleep at night was like being rescued from that day! If it continues for another hour or so, I’d probably break. And then there’s that month end stress! Oh my word! “Can month ends rather not come!” I’d think. “Not only does it test my financial balancing skills, but it also comes with those dreadful phone calls (if my balancing did not work).”
Those days honestly felt like a chasing – a constant pursuing to at least catch-up.
Day in and day out…. same, same.
All with the hope that by some miracle it would change. Thank God, for me this has changed.
Having ended many days feeling like I’ve just chased another sunset and using sleep as a means of escape, I’ve learnt that a brighter tomorrow is largely influenced by my perception of my current situation. How I view what I’m faced with today.
I’ve noticed that sleeping it away actually does not work. Sleep provides me with new gusto to face what I did not face yesterday. Yesterday is not gone. It’s like an unpaid bill. It wants to be settled – paid – paid in full.
My challenges have taught me that my perception of it (my challenges) either sets me on a path of defeat or victory. My perception is largely influenced by how I deal with it in my mind; how I think about it and toward it. Challenges not dealt with (in our minds) therefore have the ability to propel us or take us down and out.
Here’s a story to explain this point: I was never a sporty-child at school simply because I thought I would not amount to much and therefore would fail anyway. The idea of trying was least appealing. (These thoughts originated from somewhere. That’s a story for another day). My resistance to participating in sport obviously spilt over into other self-confidence issues in various other areas of life. I perceived I would amount to nothing and as a result, I underachieved and even abstained (from sport in particular). This only changed when I started dealing with my issues later in life.
Sadly, our society produces many people who are not dealing with their childhood issues. As a result, yesterday’s perceptions of self plays a big role in how today is lived (and not lived).
You’ve heard the saying “perception is reality” or “as a man thinks, so is he”. This is true.
How we perceive and process our challenges either takes us through the situation or leaves us circumventing (bypassing/evading/dodging) it.
Dr Caroline Leaf, in her book ‘Switch on your brain’ says it this way: “What you are thinking every moment of every day becomes a physical reality in your brain and body, which affects your optimal mental and physical health. These thoughts collectively form your attitude, which is your state of mind, and it’s your attitude and not your DNA that determines much of the quality of your life.”
Approaching and dealing with one’s own issues, challenges, troubles are easier said than done. It may even seem easier to evade it and pretend it does not exist. If it’s something far back in the past, it may be tempting to leave it because who wants to open old wounds? The mere fact that it’s a wound means that it requires healing.
In conclusion: Let’s deal with our challenges as it comes, as opposed to chasing sunsets and just getting through each day. There’s more to life than chasing sunsets.
Those things that bother us may seem small or insurmountable but rest assured, God’s got this. He has your back and your best interest at heart.
Here’s some wise words I was reminded of and I hope it’s of encouragement to you:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.” (Romans 12:1-3, The Message).