I want to thank you all for your lovely emails sending me prayers and healing as I battle this diagnosis. So many of you are telling me how strong I am. Most days I do feel strong, but sometimes the fear sets in. Last week I had to endure three MRI needle biopsies. I was stuck inside an MRI machine for 3 1/2 hours. I was periodically pulled out of the machine so they could drill tissue out of my breasts. Not fun. But I tried to be strong. The only time I thought I would fall apart was when the smiling nurses would ask me questions about my kids or my pets. I wanted to say, "Listen ladies, I'd love to chat over coffee sometime when I don't have needles dangling out of my breasts making this scary drilling sound, but now's not a good time, okay?"
I'm using this experience as an excuse to reduce my work load, rethink some things in my life and face my fears. I had a really great experience yesterday that taught me the beauty of facing your fears, the gift of discovery that awaits when we push beyond the unknown. I dropped my girls off at school and then headed to the beach. I got there early -- a little before 8 -- and parked at the last parking lot before the beach ends. I was shocked to find the parking lot empty and when I walked onto the sand -- there wasn't a soul in sight. I'd never seen the beach empty, and it spooked me a bit. At that part of the beach, Shell Island, there aren't any houses -- just an endless expanse of beach that ends in a bird sanctuary. I usually carry Mace in my purse and wondered if I should go get it -- ah the joys of being married to a police officer! Anyway, I kept walking and eventually the solitude became a comfort to me. Then I spotted someone ahead dressed head to toe in black. I couldn't make out any features. I could just see someone in a black hoodie and pants. Great, I thought, so what now? I thought about turning around, but I said, "No, I'm facing my fears today." Soon I was laughing as the figure in black walked closer and turned out to be a young girl in her 20's collecting seashells.
What will happen to any of us if we refuse to face our fears?
I suppose Eleanor Roosevelt said it best:
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Very often, we will find that waiting around the bend, just passed the darkness of fear, is a treasure waiting to be discovered.