It’s been a crappy summer. Not the “oh I am bored at home and have no fancy trips planned” crappy summer you had as a kid. The every single thing in my life is falling apart type summer.
The end of pregnancy was incredibly painful rough, my newborn was diagnosed with cancer, our car broke, our house/car was vandalized…twice, I was diagnosed with a heart condition, 21 days of hospitalizations, two horrible infections/three rounds of chemo/five surgeries for my son, and more problems I don’t care to talk about publicly.
It has challenged all of us in my little family, in every area of our life. Emotionally, spiritually, financially, in our relationships with each other, in our relationships with everyone else, and just with our basic functioning.
And today, I am currently sick with horrible vertigo and upset stomach, on top of an allergy attack that won’t stop.
…And someone broke our car window this afternoon.
Shouldn’t life’s crap stop as soon as the doctor utters the word “cancer”? Uh, nope. Not gonna happen. Life is just going to keep piling it on.
There have been moments I have been a mess on the floor in tears. There have been times where I cried to my friends that I couldn’t take one more thing. Much of it I have felt that I had nothing left. We have had to step away from ministry, basic social events, and everything that seemed normal for us.
But I am still standing. I am okay.
Going through this summer I have learned two things.
The first is that there are worse things than your current situation. I thought cancer was the worst. But I have been in pediatric wards of hospitals, by the pediatric ICU, and pediatric infusion clinic, and have seen children doing much worse than my son. It doesn’t take away the pain of seeing what my child is going through, nor does it take my fear for him away, but it helps keeping me appreciate what we do have.
The second is that you need to figure out what really matters. When stuff comes up now, I just ask “Can we survive this?”
And the answer is always yes, you can.
It’s that word “surviving”. I thought to be able to survive something you had to feel like you can handle it. But now that I have fought two of my worst fears in my life, one five years ago (that will be left for another blog post), and the other was my son having cancer and watching him go through chemo for the first time.
Before the both events happened in my life, I thought I wouldn’t make it through if my worst fear came true. I thought there is no possible way I could be okay. I was terrified.
But the truth is I have survived both of them. I didn’t feel like I could handle it, but ya know what? I did.
I am still standing. I am still relatively sane. And I am still moving forward. So booh yah! Take that life!
And somehow, there are days where feel like I even figured out how to thrive in all this. I am growing like crazy in ways that I struggled to make progress before. I conquered struggles in my faith that I had been unable to really get disciplined about. I have been blessed to see who my true friends are, and how much support there is for us in this world. I have been humbled in wonderful ways, and am constantly learning what true humility is.
I still get sucked in. Sucked in by the poor me’s and the *cuss word here* sentiments at the world. But I am trying very, very hard to fight them. They don’t help, they don’t solve your problems, and most of all they don’t help you thrive.
Even though I now have regular anxiety issues, I have stronger faith than ever before.
Even though I am one bad cup of coffee away from my insanity finally leaving me and I run down the street naked screaming the lyrics to NSYNC’s “Bye, bye, bye”, in ways I feel more stable than I ever have before.
Even though I feel like I have been kicked in the gut every day this summer, I am a stronger person now than I was when I started.
I am surviving.
And I am blessed, because at the end of these trials, God willing, I will be better than I was before.