In July, I wrote a post about “Laughter being the best medicine“. Well, I had a huge laughter-filled dosage of feel-good medicine last Friday when friends and family gathered to celebrate with me my cancer-free diagnosis and end of chemo treatments. As each person came through the door, I was surprised by the colourful wigs they wore, or the peach colours they sported to celebrate with me. I laughed uproariously at the get-ups and by the end of the evening my cheeks hurt from smiling!
My husband gave me strict orders not to “overdo” it, so I was relegated to sitting in my chair, my “throne” as I called it, and people came to me rather than me mingling too much with the throng of well-wishers. I was still totally exhausted by the end of the evening, but it was sooooo worth it!
My friend, Elaine, wrote on Facebook: “To celebrate a dear friend’s end-of-chemo, I wore a wig tonight…What fun to be around so many neighbours, fellow grads, former students, colleagues and kindreds. A friend and I were deep in discussion for much of the evening, catching up after too many years, but we could hear laughter erupting all around us. It made me smile. What joy to see my friends’ children growing up into such sweet young men and women. Lynn D, thank you for the reminder to celebrate. Always. Whether the milestones are minor or major. Let us truly live life in all its fullness, and gather our loved ones–and strangers–close.”
Elaine summarized the entire evening so well! We did a head-count and fifty people had gathered for my little soiree! My children were there as official hosts of the party. Thankfully, they also tackled the cleanup afterwards! My four precious grandbabies, kept us entertained wearing their “My Grandma is my hero” shirts, all the while downloading on left-over Halloween candy. My brother, church family, and friends, all came with appys to share. Most came in costume or wearing wigs, but all were as eager to celebrate with me as I was eager to celebrate with them. Each and every one present had prayed and encouraged me throughout my chemo treatments, and they continue to pray now that I’ve started the radiation treatments.
As I sat regally on my living room “throne” being waited upon, I was humbled and slightly overwhelmed by the attention. I had been so reclusive through chemotherapy, avoiding crowds in order to not compromise my immunity, and this marked the first time since June, I had been around a large group of people in close quarters. I had missed the one on one contact. I had missed giving and receiving hugs and handshakes. I had missed seeing these precious people in person, hearing their laughter, listening to their stories and feeling the camaraderie of being amongst so many people who love the Lord with all their hearts. My celebration party may have been the reason we had gathered, but I wasn’t the centre of attention. Jesus was. As I listened to my friends and family immersed in a myriad of different conversations, I realized that the main purpose of our gathering was to acknowledge His Presence in our lives, whether we realized the intent or not. The party was a great excuse for each of us to gather to have fun, enjoy one another’s company, and in so doing, give praise, to thank Him for loving and sustaining us through good times and through challenging times. We were celebrating Life! I got misty-eyed when I was impacted profoundly by a sudden thought, surrounded by so many I know and love, that this must be what heaven is like!
On Sunday, I went to worship service at my church for the first time since June. Still on an emotional high from the party two days before, I was so thankful to be surrounded by my church family again. However, surrounded as I was by people, I hardly noticed those around me. My focus was entirely on Him! I wept openly when we sang, “Christ alone, Cornerstone! Weak made strong, in the Saviour’s love…” After coming through the storm, for me this was indeed my personal song of Celebration!