Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee (or diet Dr. Pepper)
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes. How do you measure a year in the life?
I’ve been hesitant to write a post like this – one where I will mention names – because I’m afraid I will leave someone out. BUT, it has been a year since our lives changed in a way we never thought possible.
Since God gave me the courage to travel to St. Louis (after almost 30 years of agoraphobia).
Since some of the darkest days of my life.
Since I had a football-size ovarian tumor removed and found out that it had not spread.
Since a miraculous recovery, not just from cancer.
How do you measure such a year?
In daylights. Daylight is a powerful thing. Even on a cloudy day, daylight brings light to things that might have lurked in the darkness. Daylight brings hope of a new day and promise that the darkness doesn’t last. God, the giver of daylight, is the light of my world. I firmly believe because of His power and because of the prayers that went up to Him from so many, that I’m here to write this post today. I’m still hearing all the time about people who were, and are still, praying for me and I firmly believe that the prayers continue to make a difference.
In sunsets. My mom wasn’t aware of my illness or of many of the events of the past year. She is living out the sunset of her life with the cloudiness that is dementia. I mourn the fact that I wasn’t able to call her and share my fears and to hear her say “give everyone a kiss from me and make sure they kiss you for me too”. I mourn that I wasn’t able to celebrate my recovery with her. But I celebrate that I can sit and visit with her (something I couldn’t do for decades) and share in the memories that haven’t been stolen from her yet. The haziness and clouds are there, but sometimes they make the sunset even more beautiful.
In midnights. We experienced a lot of midnights the past year, both literally and figuratively. The darkest days and nights I’ve ever experienced came right after my surgery last year. There are some people that walked me through those midnights and I will never be able to express the love and thanks I have for them. Les, Sarah, Kara, Leann, Ann, Greg, Tim, Diane, Dr. Migone – you encouraged me, you fought for (and with) me, you prayed, you counseled, you carried me, you reassured, you pushed, you let go when needed, you mourned and you celebrated. You allowed yourselves to be used by God in the most powerful and life-changing ways. You brought light to the midnights.
In cups of coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker – Diet Dr. Pepper is more my speed. But I love the smell of coffee and I love the idea of sharing life over a cup of coffee (or tea, or pop, or whatever). One of my favorite places I’ve been over the last year is a little coffee shop called Orange Cup Java Station in Galesburg (my hometown). Around the tables of this shop I’ve gotten to spend time rekindling and growing relationships with my siblings and their families. What a blessed bonus to all this past year has held.
There are some people that I would love to sit down with over a cup of coffee to just say thank you and let them know their impact in my journey – my surgeon, Dr. Matthew Powell; nurses Nav and Annie at Barnes; Sarah, a nurse manager at my local hospital; our dear friend Roz – to name just a few. It would have to be a pretty big pot of coffee to share with everyone who has made a difference!
In inches. A year ago my journey could be measured in inches, or sometimes even centimeters if there was any measuring to be done. I was stuck physically and emotionally and had all but given up. If I did make anything that could be measured as progress, it was miniscule and often accidental. The inches that did happen felt like moving through molasses. With agoraphobia, my progress often was measurable in “inches” – driving to the next driveway, trying to pretend that it was progress or taking only a crumb of the medicine I needed. A lot of the past 30 years could be measured in inches. But I’m thankful for the inches because it is still progress, however small.
In miles. This is my favorite measurement of the past year! It is 92 miles from Carbondale, IL to Kinmundy, IL – miles that took us to where Les’ family has lived for generations. It is 103 miles from Carbondale to St. Louis, MO – miles that took us to medical care, the zoo, calzones and hockey! It is 287 miles from Carbondale to Galesburg, IL – miles that took us to see my beautiful mama, miles that reunited us with my siblings, miles that took us back in time. It is 443 miles from Carbondale to Kalamazoo, MI – miles that took us to our son and his wife and our precious new granddaughter, miles that took us to see their home of almost 7 years and see them in their element. It is 38 miles from Kalamazoo to South Haven, MI – miles that took us to see a lighthouse and a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan. These miles that we weren’t previously able to travel are now cherished memories of spending time with loved ones and celebrating life and freedom.
In laughter. Laughter has truly been a great medicine throughout the past year. We’ve often joked that sarcasm is our family’s love language, but I would say that humor is most definitely our love language. Although we weren’t laughing at much a year ago, we have been able to find humor even in some of the hardest times. God has given Les and Sarah senses of humor that are just what I need. Our little boys keep us in stitches as well! I celebrate so much the fact that laughter has returned to our home and our lives!
In strife. I have never really used this word much – honestly, I thought strife meant difficulty or discontent, things that have been plentiful over the past year(s). I looked up the definition of strife and see that it actually means “angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues; conflict”. Some synonyms of strife are conflict, contention and discord. Unfortunately, I did experience some strife over the past year – especially right after my surgery when I experienced a great deal of confusion and agitation. Even though it was difficult, I am thankful for the strife. It reminded me that my family’s love for me is solid and supportive and unconditional and that my savior’s love is even greater.
I started this post with lyrics from the song “Seasons of Love”. The song asks how you measure a year in the life – and it answers with measure in love. When I look back over the past year of daylights, sunsets, midnights, cups of Diet Dr. Pepper, inches, miles, laughter and strife I see love woven through it all. Love of family, friends and a Heavenly Father who makes all things new. I’m eager to see where the next 525,600 minutes take us!
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