Fingerprints

My son takes great delight in encouraging his two boys to leave their imprint on the world around them…literally! Especially when they come to visit Grandma, the finger, tongue and snotty nose prints are left on most of my mirrors, and the inside windows. My son thinks it’s funny, and admittedly I find it hilarious to see their little faces shmooshed up against the glass making faces at me through a window, until I have to clean the slobber after they’ve left. I have threatened to go to my son’s home, and leave MY fingerprints on all his windows and mirrors, but knowing my grandsons, they will have already beat me to it, and my son wouldn’t be the least bit concerned. I see the mess left behind, but he focuses on the fun the boys had making the mess. Maybe he’s got it right.

Way back in my memory banks I remember my days with precocious preschoolers, who finger painted, glued and made the most glorious messes in creating their masterpieces. Try as I might to keep the mess confined for easy cleanup, my kids were undaunted in their pursuit of artistic brilliance, and the more mess they made, the more thrilled they were with themselves. Fort making with all of Mommy’s clean sheets became castles of architectural magnificence. Making cookies, required much finger-licking and doughy kneeding, so much so in fact, I didn’t bother baking the globby balls of gooey disgustingness. I called it play dough and tossed it all away and ensured I had store bought cookies for them to eat, and always praised them for their baking prowess. When my children were finally tucked in bed after a full day of merry, mess-making, I tried to put some order in the chaos. I will admit, I did my share of grumbling while I tidied, but then I’d spot a little handprint on a wall or mirror, and I would smile and remember the fun, and the laughter we had shared together throughout the day.

There came a day of course, when they stopped leaving their tiny fingerprints everywhere. Clothes, boots and shoes were scattered from the hallway to their individual rooms. Papers, books, and bedding, littered their floors. Beseeching them to clean up after themselves became a futile mantra I repeated and they ignored daily. I eventually gave up and closed the doors to their sanctuaries, and retreated in defeat. The saddest days came for me when each of their rooms were emptied of belongings. One at a time, from oldest to youngest, their “messes” were cleaned up around my house, as each of my three children left home to leave their imprint elsewhere.

I haven’t had energy to do much of anything these many months as I battled cancer for the second time. Long before my diagnosis, whenever my adult children would visit they made a point of doing a thorough clean up before they headed to their own homes so I didn’t need to worry about dirty dishes in the sink, or putting away toys the grandbabies had scattered about while playing here. Over the years they have come to appreciate my effort of keeping up with the constant messes they made when they were little. My children labour out of love for me, understanding how much I laboured then and now out of love for them. I appreciate how they have come to respect my home and are eager to help me every time they visit. Still, I always find at least one little grandbaby handprint purposefully left behind; a tiny reminder of the family time we have just shared. I can’t help but smile, and I am in no hurry to polish the glass clean.

The day will come when I won’t see little fingerprints around my house anymore and I will miss them.

Posted in Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts | 2 Comments

Little Celebrations

I wrote a post several weeks ago on Journey Thoughts about thankfulness being a choice. It’s not dependent on your circumstances, but being thankful in spite of circumstances. This week I also posted on InScribe another blog post with the same thankfulness theme. I guess I need the reminder to be thankful as much as anyone else. I need to celebrate and be thankful for the big victories, like being cancer-free…Yahooooo!!!, as well as celebrating the smaller, daily victories.

Being thankful is a continuing struggle for me especially when cancer has turned my life upside down. It’s hard to give thanks when chemo thunder has wrecked havoc on my body, and left me with lingering nerve damage. When sleep continues to elude me, and nausea and tummy upset is a constant companion, giving thanks is the last thing I want to do. Yet, that is what I’m told to do: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I sometimes spend more time thinking about what I can’t do than being thankful about things I can do. So today I looked in the mirror and let out a little squeal of excitement. Instead of focusing on my bald head, as I have been doing for months now, I noticed I am sprouting eyebrows! I never knew how much I missed my eyebrows until I had to draw them on myself. Unfortunately, chemo has left me with what I hope is not a permanent hand tremor. Other than being a nuisance for the most part, it’s a bit challenging trying to write legibly and having a steady enough hand to draw eyebrows that look somewhat linear and precise. One day an unexpected tremor made me draw one eyebrow so I looked like Mr. Spock on Star Trek. It was not a good look for me!

My husband was chatting with his sister on the phone today and he had the audacity to complain to her about his receding hairline and graying hair. I couldn’t help but laugh at him and point to my bald head. He knows I am a little sensitive when it comes to my lack of locks. I am looking forward to my first bad hair day, and praying it happens in the not too distant future! Bless his heart though, he’s participating in Movember, growing a moustache and raising money that goes towards men’s health. He has grown a wonderful moustache in just two weeks. Oh, that I could grow some hair on my head as quickly!

So today I’m celebrating eyebrows. No perceptible eyelashes yet, but am anticipating another little celebration when they sprout.

Posted in Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts

Radiation

At the end of this week I will be halfway through my radiation treatments. I wish I could say they’ve been easy, but the reality is, I’ve been dealing with a new set of side effects since starting treatments. They warned me that I would be dealing with more fatigue, and sure enough, I sometimes feel like I don’t have energy to brush my teeth let alone any other simple task. The worst is tummy upsets though. I hardly know what to eat because it seems just about everything disagrees with me. Unfortunately, it is a side effect that may last awhile even after treatments are done. *sigh*

Still, if I compare these radiation side effects with chemo, these are far more preferable. 😁

Last Friday, I had to wait for my treatment, and I struck up a good conversation with a lady who was battling breast cancer. She had just finished four rounds of chemo and was just starting her sixteen radiation treatments. She showed me pictures of her grandchildren and said, “They are my reason for fighting so hard.” I know what she means. I have hundreds 🤪 of pictures on my iPhone of my kids and grandbabies, and when I am having a challenging day, I scroll through them, and think of the memories yet to be made with each of my loved ones. Cancer survivors and those living with cancer have families and friends who are cheering them on. Loved ones may not fully grasp what we are going through, but their support uplifts us. I never forget about my “cheering section” and thank God for them every day!

As we continued talking and commiserating about our cancer journeys, sharing the similarities and differences, we both admitted to the emotional toll cancer and the subsequent treatments have taken out on us. Only those who have fought the battle can truly understand what it’s like on the battle field. I have discovered over these many years that there is a camaraderie that develops between even total strangers based on shared experience. Though everyone’s battle with cancer is uniquely their own, we can encourage each other because we have shared enough commonalities with the disease to be able to relate to one another.

As I watched the Remembrance Day services on T.V. on November 11th, several veterans were interviewed and a few tried to relate their wartime experience to the young reporters. “You had to be there!” Declared a ninety-five year old WW2 veteran with a raspy voice, as he wiped a tear from his eye. It’s true. We may hear the stories, but we will never fully comprehend what these brave men and women faced, because we did not personally experience what they experienced. It is important we hear the stories just the same, because it is important for them to tell their story, as much as it’s important for us to hear them. Stories have such an impact and brings both the teller and the listener closer to understanding one another.

Jesus knew the importance of storytelling. It was an integral part of His earthly ministry. Whenever Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” He was calling for people to pay careful attention. Jesus spoke in parables, telling stories the people could relate to even if they may not have had a personal connection to, or experience with. Their understanding of the parable was not always determined by personal experience, but whether or not they were willing to listen and hear the meaning and intent of the story.

I will admit, there have been times I have blocked out listening to the stories of those who just want someone to hear them. I have been distracted by my own circumstances, not wanting to get involved. I have even purposefully avoided talking to people because their story would make me too uncomfortable to hear it.  Sometimes, I have avoided telling my story, because the remembrance of some of it is just to painful to relive.  I have learned there is healing in the telling, and in the listening to another’s journey.  It is intimidating to share sometimes, but God does not want us to remain silent if He has allowed us to go through something with the intention to share the experience with others for His purposes.  He would not want us to avoid listening either, if we have an opportunity to hear and learn from their experience.  It allows us a better insight into their life journeys and allows us to lend support to them as well.

In the next few weeks left of my radiation treatments, I will likely have more opportunities to strike up conversations with fellow cancer sojourners. Pray that I will compassionately listen to them; I will have the boldness to share my faith with them, and that they in turn will have “ears to listen” to my story as well.

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