I have done lots of reading in the past few months, and I'm sorry that I can't remember where I read this statement: "the future is fiction" because it has dramatically affected my thought process. It really is profound...and true. Nothing we plan for, hope for, or prepare for will necessarily happen. Just like nothing we worry about and stress about will necessarily happen. Nothing besides the present is for sure. So how does this affect your present situation? I have spent so many hours wishing my present state away and hoping for or dreading the future. So in the past few weeks I've tried really hard to be happy for the moment, to make the most of the moment and to reflect on all the blessings I have in a given moment. Tomorrow I turn 38 years old. Birthdays are a time when we think in years....reflecting on this past year, many months have been filled with what I did not expect, was not prepared for, and certainly did not hope for. It makes me wonder what will happen in this next year of my life? Wondering is ok, but worrying is not. I've learned that worrying accomplishes only one thing: to bring down my spirits. Worrying does not change an outcome, it does not heal, it does not make me feel better, it does not have a single positive result. So this year, starting on my birthday, I'm going to anticipate the unexpected and wait for it with a sense of hope and wonder, but not worry. I also know I will fail and fall into worry many times; however, each time I do I'm going to remind myself: the future is fiction....I have very little control over it (especially that unexpected bad news). Then I'm going to give it to God and trust Him with it, so I can enjoy the present more then I ever have before.
This all comes after a week filled with days of constant worrying. I had my first follow up doctor's appointment this past Thursday. I was dreading walking into the hospital, and I was extremely anxious about getting bad news. On Monday these thoughts of dread and anxiety completely controlled me. I spent most of my day crying, every song I heard on the radio made me cry, commercials on TV made me cry and everything anyone said to me somehow reminded me that I have cancer and I'm tired of it, so I cried. On Tuesday I started feeling a bit better....there were less tears but the anxious thoughts were still there. On Tuesday night, I had some friends get me back on track. They reminded me I have so much to be thankful for right now: I'm turning 38, I have amazing friends, I'm loved, I made it through treatments: I'm a conqueror. Wednesday I reminded myself that I don't control the future and that whatever I found out at my appointment will be what it will be and it will be what God intends.
I was able to walk in to my appointment on Thursday calm and ready. Thankfully the news was good, in fact it was great. My doctor didn't do a formal cancer check (I have to wait for April for that), but he checked me over. He was thrilled with my recovery so far. He told me he was very pleased with how well and how quickly I've "bounced back" from treatments. So all my worry was for nothing. Darryl and I walked out of the hospital hand in hand and realized it was the first time since I was diagnosed that we got to walk out smiling and feeling good about what we had just heard. It was a foreign feeling to us, but a great one. When I got home I realized, I had wasted 2 days of my life worrying.....I don't want that to happen again. I know anxious thoughts for my April scan and appointments are just around the corner waiting to attack. I will try my best to stand up to them and not let them get control of me.
I have had a lot of amazing birthday celebrations already this week planned by my family, friends, and my students. All of them made me feel so celebrated. And I have learned birthdays are worth celebrating....every single one of them, not just the "big ones" because every year is another chance to make your mark. So hello 38! I'm looking forward to 39!