Monday, 17 March 2014

The Ordinary Life

As I post this today, there is a clear, blue sky with lots of sunshine.  I haven't been outside yet but it looks warm and inviting.  I've seen the birds flitting in to feed at my birdfeeder which my husband moved to the front of the house this winter so we could watch the birds throughout the winter.  There wasn't much activity at the feeder this winter because it has been too blustery, windy and stormy.  This past week and this morning there are more visitors to our seed buffet.  Even the squirrels have been trying to snatch some of the seeds.  I saw my neighbour walk by with his dog and realized that it must be much colder than it looks as his coat collar was turned up and he was hunkered down into his coat to keep warm.  He was also walking very quickly.

I have always loved nature but I find that in the two years of remission from my lymphoma, I still see the beauty in nature more than I ever did before.  I'm also continuing to make time each morning for meditation, reflection and prayer.  There is so much to pray for!!  Prayers for health for myself, family, friends and acquaintances.  Prayers for guidance as I try to be the best parent I can be.  Prayers for wisdom.  Prayers of support for community leaders and my church leaders.  Sometimes when I wake up during the night, I lay in bed and pray for the safety of my children and their friends as they all navigate becoming their own persons.

I'm currently in the season of Lent.  I don't give up anything for Lent but I do try to focus on my faith a little more.  I try to recognize and pray for the various injustices in the world without becoming depressed and overwhelmed.  I'm currently following a prayer calendar where there are daily suggestions on what to pray for as well as ideas for where to pray.  Today's suggestion was to pray while I walk silently.  I'm hoping to go out for a walk this afternoon and do this.  To me prayer does not mean always speaking out loud or thinking the prayer in my head.  Sometimes, I think that prayer can be just "being" and communing with God.  I envision the walk this afternoon to be me and God side by side walking along maybe holding hands.  I find this mental picture to be very peaceful and comforting.  I'm also using a study guide called "Lamentations for Lent" which uses the psalms and reflects on them.  My minister is constantly challenging us to live and search for joy in this time of Lent.  I'm finding the "Lamentations for Lent" paradoxical as it could be very depressing but I find hope and joy through the comfort of God.  It's kind of like when I was feeling really sick, achy and tired when in chemotherapy.  I remember laying on my side in bed and looking at my grandma's crucifix on my wall.  I felt really miserable and weak.  Certainly not something that inspires joy.  But I also felt God's presence and compassion.  This transformed all the "crap" I felt to something much better and almost akin to a deep joy in my soul.  I don't mean happiness but a joy that God was with me and comforted me.

As I've started to live an ordinary life since returning to health after my chemotherapy two years ago, I wanted to live in such a way that I make a real difference to the world.  This has been a struggle. It's one thing to want to make a difference but HOW do you make a difference?  I'm just a wife.  I'm just a mother.  I'm just a piano teacher.  I'm not a corporate executive overseeing business decisions that affect the world greatly.  I saw a quote a couple of weeks ago that has resonated within.  It was something like "To be happy you need to make ordinary moments extraordinary."  So that's my attempt to make a difference.  I truly care about my piano students.  I encourage them at every lesson.  Yesterday, I was out shopping and a former student came up to me and said hi.  I was so pleased to see her and with her was one of my current students!  I felt such joy and love for these two girls and was very pleased that they went out of their way to say hello.  Maybe I'm making a difference.  I try to make a difference as a mother by being interested in what my children are doing and being their cheerleader and supporter.  I try to offer guidance.  I don't know if it is working but I'm continually hoping and praying that I do make a difference.

I try to make a difference in my daily routine by focusing in on the moments of my day.  I must admit that I'm able to do this better now especially since my brain is not able to handle multiple ideas and distractions anymore.  This means I am living fully in the moments with my friends and family.  I don't know if it makes a big difference in "the world" but it might make a difference to the people I interact with.  I do know that by playing piano at the Cancer Centre once a week, my music touches various people in ways that I am not aware of.

Just think how different our world would be if people were focused and fully in the moment with other people that they interact with.  What a difference it would make in the world if we could just extend some love and kindness to everyone we met such as ourselves (how can we love someone else if we hate/dislike something about ourselves?), family, friends and even strangers.  A simple smile and hello such as what my students extended to me can make such a difference!

So maybe I can and am able to make a difference in my ordinary life and routines. The experience of having had lymphoma and chemotherapy continues to transform me even two years later.  I continue to work on improving my faults to make me a better person so that I can live in this world and make a positive difference to the world through my existence.  I will continue to enter my team "Cathy Conquers Cancer" in the Relay for Life each year.  It is one way that I can help raise money to fund the cancer research and support programs that can make a difference to those who suffer from cancer in the future.

If you're interested in making a donation to "Cathy Conquers Cancer" follow this link and click on "Make a Donation":

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