I have vivid memories of myself as a little curly haired girl with black patent leather shoes running around my mother's favorite department store. I would weave in and out of the racks of clothing as if they were a giant fort I had built at home out of blankets and pillows. I would peer out of the merry-go-round of clothes occasionally to keep track of my mom. Then there was the time I would peek my head out of my nest of cotton and polyester blend and realize my mother was nowhere to be found. Terrified and panic stricken, I can feel the fear that came down on me like a nightshade. I feel my heart beating under my chest and the chaotic clicking of my heels as I run down the aisles screaming for my mom.
This is the exact same feeling I had when my dad told me his cancer is back. I had this chaotic feeling within my soul. I felt like I have been hit by a tornado only to be left with disorder and destruction to be cleaned up. You would think I would be good at this since we experienced this just 5 years ago. Yet, I don't know if your ever get good at something like this. I feel like the last time I went through this I just was paralyzed to the whole situation. It truly was one of the lowest points of my life. I remember crying myself to sleep, feeling so alone, and most of all scared.
You see my entire life I have wanted to be a pillar of strength. One of those people who lift others up and make their day better; a person who is strong in body, mind, and soul capable of helping others through hard times. Yet, what I have found over the years is that most of the time my pillars of strength remind me more of the ancient Roman ruins, piles of crumbling rock.
Where do you find your strength? I read an article this past week that looked at people who had suffered adversity in their life and found that they were actually happier. As I read the article I just kept thinking really....really, but in the end I think they are right. If we have never known hardship or disappointment how can we appreciate the good times. The truth is I am a person who believes each experience shapes and equips us, makes us stronger, and able to handle the life we have been given. I have no idea how my parents have survived all they have been through together, but they have and in the end they are some of the happiest and kindest people you will meet.
Bad things happen to good people. I see it everyday at the hospital and I live it at home. While my family lives on optimism, I can't deny that I am scared. I love my father, he is my hero. I want him to be around to share not only in the joys of his life, but also the milestones of my life. Thus while my life is a cyclone of anticipation about residency and 4th year requirements, life has so humbly shown me that there are more important things like my family to worry about. I have asked several times "why me?," yet I am reminded that life is a battleground constantly training and equiping you for the road ahead. Thus I approach the weeks ahead, with determination, hope, and a heart open to experience. Nothing is perfect, not even my crumbling pillars of strength.