Have you seen the phrase, “Don’t judge a story by the chapter you walked in on”? Sometimes we get stuck re-reading the same chapter. Even the painful ones are difficult to put down… we somehow feel comfortable with their pattern.
I was recently cleaning out some papers and organizing a filing cabinet (& a tote that has been sitting in our room with miscellaneous things since we moved). I came across this red notebook. The edges are worn and the color on the front is even wearing off. That’s because it traveled with me for every Dr appointment for 6 months or more. This was my “cancer notebook.” A notebook, in my opinion, is key for anyone going through a medical crisis of any kind. The nurses and doctors rush in and out, telling you all kinds of facts and stats and test names and results… it’s overwhelming. It helps to write it down. This book wasn’t my journal. It was my project list. My to-do, to-ask, next step master list. It’s not a large book. I glanced through it while I was cleaning and wondered what to do with it.
It’s just a chapter. It’s not my whole story. It’s not my whole life. It’s a significant, yet small period of time. I couldn’t throw it. Not because I wanted to hang on to that chapter, but because I don’t have a great memory, so when I need to refer to it, at least I’ll have it. When a cousin or relative asks about my testing or what grade the tumor was, that info may have faded from my memory. There are a few things I’m not willing to part with yet and this is one of them. I did give a bunch of shirts and jewelry to a newly diagnosed lady. I didn’t know her but I wanted to pay it forward. I needed to release some of that also. It’s a chapter whose page is ready to turn.
I’m approaching my 5 year (from diagnosis) anniversary. December 9th. My random Tuesday. As I get closer to the anniversary, I feel more at peace with letting go. It was certainly a big part of my story, but I’m happy to begin new chapters. Do you have something you re-read in your story? Is it something that no longer serves you? Can you set it down and walk away? Can you turn the page and start something new? It’s not easy. The familiar is comforting, safe and not as scary. You can do it though. I can do it too. I will still remember it because I have physical scars, but I can start a new chapter. This one is going to be great!
Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May you have the courage to turn the page when you need to. You don’t need to erase it, but you also don’t need to keep re-reading. Share a blank notebook with someone… you might be helping them with their new chapter.