I was scrolling through Facebook before bed, too tired to move off the couch. We did a lot of canning on Labor Day. Whatever we don’t sell at the market, we try to use in some way. Today was salsa and jam day. We made 3 more batches of mild, medium and hot salsa, 3 batches of pasta sauce, strawberry jam, blueberry jam, chokecherry jelly & strawberry rhubarb jam. It was more than twelve hours of prepping, cooking & canning. My husband carried a canner full of jars and water up and down our patio steps many times on Monday. He wore gloves & glasses to prep the jalapeños for the hot salsa. Everyone stayed safe, so it was a good day. We do the canning outside on a propane stove. It keeps the heat out of the house and it’s much quicker.
Anyway, I saw this quote from Toby Mac. He’s a Contemporary Christian artist and has lost a son. His words struck a chord with me & I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to write about. We all face struggles of some kind. Most of the time we don’t know what someone else is going through. They may have lost a loved one, struggled to get out of bed, battled depression/loneliness/anxiety, struggled with hidden health issues… the list goes on. After I was done with breast cancer treatment, I had a bit of a panic attack. I wasn’t “actively” doing anything… no more surgery or radiation, no more regular doctor visits… I was just set free to do what? Now what? It’s a strange feeling. Like maybe when you’re not fighting anymore, it will come back?
I met with a counselor at the cancer center and also met with mentor (someone who had been through breast cancer herself). I asked, “Does it ever get easier? Is there a day when you don’t think about it?” Their answer was “kind of.” Eventually it doesn’t consume your every thought… other things fill in. You make plans for the future instead of putting plans on pause, you take some chances you had held off on, you find a new routine. I’m thankful that now I have to do math to remember how long it’s been. This past Memorial weekend was 6 years since my last surgery. This coming December will be 7 years from diagnosis. The thing is, it won’t ever go away. It will always be a part of me, always a part of my story, always a concern for my family.
But I like to think I have helped others who have gone through cancer. I’ve shared tips for them and for their caregivers, I’ve sent care packages to strangers, answered questions when I could and said many prayers for healing and strength. I remember hearing, “If God can lead you to it, God can lead you through it.” FYI, this was not helpful for me. It kind of made me mad. Why did God lead me to breast cancer at 41? Why did God make me give that news to my family & take me on a journey I didn’t ask for? Why did some friends turn away and abandon me? Why was work so challenging while dealing with such an illness? I don’t have the answers. Maybe it is because I was meant to help someone else.
The same could be said for you. Have you struggled with something and then been able to help someone else? You might not even realize the impact you had. It forms a connection. I picture a spider web in my mind… a small strand connecting us to someone else. When you get enough of those strands, the web can be pretty strong.
I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Stop and take a moment to reflect on how you’ve helped someone else. You are here for a reason, even if it’s not apparent to you, you’ve no doubt made a difference in someone’s life. Maybe God really did lead us to it.