Power. For me, being treated for cancer, especially going through chemo, means losing power and control. No choice. Every person facing this comes to the table from a different life journey. I've always felt that I'm the protector of my children. Previously invincible, now, I've become the protector of myself, and as that, I’m going to maintain as much control as I can. I own it and I have to do what’s right for me and my family. In a way this is a new position of power. This is a full-time job. Along the way, in June and July, I had more fear and anger than feelings of power. But, Bill and I made sure then that we had complete confidence in the doctors to whom I had to turn the physical power over to.
Fortunately, people told me to take care of me, and do what I needed to do for myself and my family. I learned how to accept help from friends and strangers.
Fortunately, every person I reached out to who had experienced cancer has grasped a hold of me. Each has cast a rope around my waist, destined not to let me sink. They are pillars standing on the shore of a rocky sea they’ve already sailed. From family members to women who were mere acquaintances or absolute strangers, I have strong and formidable women who hold the ropes that are stabilizing me. They talk with me at 11 p.m. from Iowa. They told me what day to expect my hair to fall out. They warned me that my bald head would be cold sleeping. They laughed at me when I thought perhaps I should go to the ER after cleaning a toilet and getting light-headed. “You goofball! Open a window and take some deep breaths!” I am in a fit of laughter writing and thinking about that phone call!
Fortunately my pastor, in addition to his compassionate listening, said, “I really feel you will come out on the other side of this,” plus words to the effect that God can take anything I can dish out. I have had words with God. I have prayed and I have prayed aggressively. I have explained exactly where I stand with this. In my mind and through my writing, I have stood in the middle of a corn field in Iowa screaming at God. Then I thought perhaps He couldn’t hear me through the 8-foot high stalks of corn. So we took it to a hayfield. And I really screamed at Him.
I’m lifting from a journal the following that I wrote the last day of July. It’s actually written to you but back then I was too close to it to share with you. It’s raw footage of a different place than where I am today.
July 31, 2009 I think faith is a very individual personal decision, and I tend to keep it that way. However if you are someone who prays and are stumped, as I’ve been, about what to pray for us, I’ll share with you what I pray for. While I’m thankful for much, there are days when I pray pretty aggressively and angrily, which I have never done before. I’m sure that we, He and I, have an understanding that whatever comes out is indeed a raw passion for life and the commitment I have made as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a niece, a god-parent, a guardian, a friend…. So when that passionate fire burns raw in my conversations with Him, I remind Him to be prepared for me to live life with a zest and a fierceness I seldom if ever have experienced in my life. With that said, this is my prayer.
“God, I thank you for all the gifts in my life.
I pray for daily blessings, including those small and special or large and complicated. For those that appear blemished.
I pray for your grace and that I in turn am graceful.
I pray that I feel the power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit move through me every day.
I pray for strength and courage in all that I do.
I pray for wisdom in all decisions I make.
I pray that the cancer is contained, controlled and cured.
I pray for the doctors who are helping me. I pray especially for my surgeon’s expertise and thank you for her compassion.
I pray for those special women in my life who have had cancer and for those who are fighting it now. Thank you for putting these strong, formidable women in my path.
I pray for all of the people who will help me on this journey.
I pray for others who are ill or suffering.
I pray for my parents, brothers, sister and family. Please give them comfort as I know they are worried about me. Remind them daily that I am from strong stock: Murphys, Mills, and Iowans.
I pray that I live in each moment and truly see the beauty that surrounds me.
I pray for “Mommy, Daddy, Will & Liam.” We are a family of four with long full lives to lead together.
I pray all this in your name… Our father who art in heaven…”
And this is what I carry with me in my pocket on a prayer bracelet every day. And I pray this prayer not normally in tears but with great hope and tremendous faith.
And there are days when I so wish for an Iowa corn field to scream in – so, if you have one and feel the urge, go pray aggressively in it for me!
This must be the angry stage. :)
End of journal entry.
August 1, 2009, was a new day with a new sense of peace.
Staying strong with a pocket full of prayer, Linda
(Here's a prayer from another pocket. My Granddad's Pre-Sermon Prayer.)