Monday, December 20, 2010

Enough is enough: Unless you've had cancer

When I attended a First Descents camp there was one emotion I had been dealing with that I never would have attributed to cancer. In fact, I would have pointed out the cause to be anything BUT cancer. Therefore I was surprised to hear the other survivors at camp professing their struggle with this same thing. And it hit me like a ton of bricks that cancer had bred this emotion inside of me.

It was fear. But not fear of dying, or hurting, or losing something. It was fear of reaching my last breath and feeling like I had not done enough with my life. It took that experience at First Descents to show me that the reason I had this fear was not because I had had cancer, but because I had survived cancer. No one prepares a cancer patient for the feelings that come with survival. It completely took me by surprise. Why wasn't everything back to normal? Why wasn't I moving on? Why was I different?

But I was different. I had survived something that I never expected to experience. I had a new strength, a new peace, a new faith. And in my core I believed that I had survived for a reason... God wasn't finished with me yet. Believing that created a fear in me that I wouldn't live up to what I was here for. That I would fall short of my purpose. I was afraid of missing the mark.

But without realizing the emotions that were running through me I began to pursue more things than I could possible handle. I was confused about my direction. Shortly after recovering from surgery I moved to Huntsville, AL and literally did nothing for 6 months, just thinking and evaluating my life and pursuing an inner happiness. It didn't work. So I moved back home to Mobile and got a full time job so that I could support myself and gain happiness through independence. I stayed at that job for a year and a half. It didn't work. I still wanted more. So I applied to grad school to study forensic anthropology, something that I had wanted to do before I was diagnosed. Half way into my applications I realized it wasn't my passion anymore. I was different.

And then, like every good thing does, it slapped me in the face. My passion had changed. My desires were different. And my goals needed to change too. God had a different purpose for me than I thought and my constant pursuit of what I wanted had blinded me to seeing it. I am not supposed to have a mediocre job. I am not supposed to be an anthropology, I am not supposed to teach the Bible. I am supposed to go into the cancer field. And that is something I never would have considered had I not had cancer. I'm not sure what I will end up doing yet, but I hope that I will have the opportunity to complete graduate work in molecular biology so that I can conduct research in cancer genetics. But if that doesn't happen then I see myself ending up working full time in the awareness community. This is what I am meant to do.

I had my moments where I felt enough was never enough. Sometimes I still do. But at the end of the day my life will be exactly what God wants it to be if I have faith in Him enough to let Him lead me. Cancer, no cancer, death, survival, my life is His life. My heart will rest on that.

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"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting..... 'WHAT A RIDE!'"