Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Just sayin' . . .

Friends and family know me to be opinionated.  I trust that, through the years, they have noticed that those opinions are tempered with a little more patience and compassion than they once were.  I can be quite dogmatic, stubborn and independent.  Sometimes that works to an advantage; sometimes not.  I would also trust that folks have witnessed a growing dependence on a faithful God and a willingness and need to share that with others.  This morning I am struck with opinions that compel me to write. 

Each morning I begin my quiet time with the daily reading from Jesus Calling.  This morning I felt absolutely terrible, maybe one of the worst  days since this leg of the journey began.  Last week's treatment shouldn't have hit me so hard; it was the first in the cycle and is usually tolerated well, but adding a flu shot to the mix delivered a double whammy.  I opened my eyes and wondered if I could make coffee, fix a bowl of cereal and get on with the day.  I felt terrible and I complained about it.  Then came the words for today written just for me:  You have been on a long, uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent. . . . I am pleased with your desire to stay close to Me.  There is one thing, however, that displeases Me:  your tendency to complain.. . . I understand better than anyone else the stresses and strains that have afflicted you. . . . Complaining to others is another matter altogether.  It opens the door to deadly sins such as self-pity and rage.  Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me and talk it out.  As you open up to Me, I will put My thoughts in your mind and My song in your heart. 

I try not to complain, keep a stiff upper lip.  I may fool some of the people some of the time, but God knows my heart.  God knows my limitations and is ready to supply me with His strength.  My prayer is one of thanksgiving for pointing out my shortcomings and one of petition that I might not let the complaints rob me of God's song in my heart.

This, as you know, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  As a survivor and as one who is keenly aware of how this particular disease has touched the lives of many of my friends and family, I am glad to see the attention paid to awareness, but the presence of all the pink offends me--not sure why, but it does.  Just like seeing women in clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination and flaunts big bosoms.  Too many carry the scars of having a breast--or two--removed; too many live with the inconvenience of a prosthesis.  Most of them will wear their bras on October 13, because going without is uncomfortable and a nuisance.  So, what can you do?

*Start by reading my daughter's blog @ where she writes about her experience with her best friend's cancer.  I particularly like her suggestion to talk about "life," not "cancer."  Her words are appropriate not just for breast cancer, but other cancers as well.
*When you contribute to breast cancer research, be sure that most of your contribution goes to actual research, not administration and publicity. 
*Inform family members of their medical history.  I learned after the diagnosis process had begun, that my maternal grandmother had had breast cancer, certainly a fact that needed to be shared. 
*Be aware and stay informed.  Treatment has come a long way since my grandmother had it over sixty years ago or even since I was diagnosed in 1981.

The other thing that has gotten to me recently is Michael J. Fox's new "comedy."  Don't get me wrong.  I applaud the work he has done to raise both money and awareness for Parkinson's Disease.  I have read his autobiography.  I know having someone of his notoriety speak out has raised millions for PD research.  Because I admire him, I tuned in to watch the new show.  Maybe the whole PD experience is still too fresh; maybe remembering the decline of the love of your life is too painful, but I was offended by what I believed to be insensitivity toward those affected by the disease.  Mr. Fox's experience is that of one man; not any two PD experiences are the same.  Some people respond and continue living productive lives; others cannot.  Needless to say, I didn't watch again.  Poking fun at disability is not comedy. 

I pray that as I seek to have a "God listening heart," I will confess my complaints to the One who already knows them and will provide; that I would be tolerant and not indignant when my opinions are in the minority; that I would make concerns about cancer, PD, all illness, a matter of prayer.

Pastor Margaret

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