When I started my blog, I had a list of initial topics. However, I asked a few friends if there was anything they would like to see me talk about. One of them asked me to talk about staying positive through trials. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed the topic was perfect for my first real post.
When I tell people my story, more often than not, they are surprised at how positive I am, and how positive I stayed through my battle with cancer and treatment. In the beginning, it wasn’t a conscious decision. Over time, it certainly became that, but it didn’t start that way. I remember during my first hospital stay my parents remarking on how well I was dealing with the diagnosis. The only thing I knew for sure was that life kept going. Time didn’t stop just because I had cancer. In those initial days, all I could think was to just keep going. In fact, during those early days, I didn’t want to know the numbers and overall prognosis. I knew enough to know that stage iv cancer wasn’t good, but I didn’t want to know more than that. It took months before I was ready for that information. I learned several years ago that sometimes you just have to take things ten minutes at a time. You get through ten minutes, and then the next ten minutes and before you know it, an hour has passed. And then another an hour, and then a day and before you know it more time has passed than you thought possible.
There’s a quote I’ve always loved that I put into practice once I was diagnosed with cancer.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”Reinhold Niebuhr
While I didn’t specifically think of that quote after I was diagnosed, I did think of my situation in terms of what I could change and what I could not. No matter what trial we are facing, we can divide it into two categories – what we can change and what we cannot. I couldn’t change that I had stage iv colon cancer. I couldn’t change that I didn’t find out I had Lynch Syndrome until I’d been diagnosed with late stage cancer. I couldn’t change that I had Lynch Syndrome. My mantra, if you like, became “it is what it is.” I couldn’t change what had already happened, but I realized I could change how I dealt with it. I could choose to be consumed by it, or I could learn to live with it. How we deal with our trials is up to us. We can choose to find help. We can choose our attitude. I promise you a positive attitude will make it easier for you and those around you. It’s not the be all answer, but it can’t hurt.
I had to learn the difference between what I could change and what I couldn’t change. I couldn’t afford to put my energy into what I couldn’t change; even before surgery and chemo, I didn’t have energy to spare. Banging my head against an immovable object wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Instead, I gave up the immovable object to God. I couldn’t do anything with it, but God could. Giving up our problems to God isn’t that easy though. It takes effort and a daily commitment. It’s not something we say we’re going to do one day, and then never make that decision again. It’s a daily decision we have to make.
Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow
One thought on “Staying Positive Through Trial – Part 1”
Excellently expressed! I love the Light you shed on times that can feel so dark. You are a great example to many. Especially in these troubled times, I feel like now is the time to look towards your attitude and ask, on bended knee what God wants for us and then ask to borrow strength from Him. That’s what I see in you. You amaze me and continue to do so.