I just finished reading a book that has really transformed me. Same Kind of Different As Me is amazing (you can get it here). It is the chance encounter of two men and the story of the woman who challenged them to be friends and then transformed her life.
Because a book review would tell you this, I’m not reuining the story, but the woman dies of cancer.
Now, I’m going to be real honest with you here..I wanted to just write this down in my journal at home, but if I’m going to be transparent on here, then I have to share everything.
I’ve probably mentioned before that my strugle with “getting back to normal” and “just going on with life” have been the hardest part of my journey. Yes, I was tired on chemo weekends and yes, I was exhausted after working through days of radiation, but when it was all over and you hear “REMISSION”, there is apart of your heart that feels like you’ve been through a breakup. And, for me, a person who is so relational and doesnt like change, especially when it means people are no longer going to be in your life everyday, this is the hardest part.
When you get the diagnosis, you realize, “okay, I’m going to buck up and deal with this”. At least it was that way for me. There was never a question about my diagnosis, I didnt want a second opinion. I knew what I was dealing with. I just had the feeling. Then, I was told what treatments we were going to do and then we did them. I was told they were going to work, and they did. Then I was done and was supposed to just go on. Well, its not that simple. That part of life defined me. Its a label I wear. A badge of honor, and yet it still haunts me.
As I’ve read this book, about this amazing woman who changed peoples lives, I cant help but think about the fact that her LIFE mattered. What she lived for mattered and while her death and that experience is what drew many people in to her story and really in a way is what defined her story, I cant help but think about what if. “What if she was still living in Ft. Worth and working at Union Gospel Mission?” Would Denver have stepped up like he did? Would the community and the world at Rocky Top still been affected the same way? Would Ron have had the chance to speak to all the groups he gets to talk to now? I just wonder. She accomplished big things with her life, but her death drew these men to a different relationship and in that relationship, to write their story and in that process, it became a best seller and leads a list of biographies ahead of Tony Dungy and our President. Its transformational.
And yet I think, why did this woman have to die. Why did that have to be part of her cancer story. Why was I afforded the opportunity and am I living the story.
Its different from just the story of Survivors guilt (which is very real and I’ve been there…several times). I’m just challenged as I think about why I’m still here (no, this not a sign of depression or suicide). I’m serious. I wonder, even contemplate and question. Why did my story have the good ending. Why was my journey “easy”, comparatively. I wanted the process, I asked for it. I wanted the feelings, the tears, the frustrations, the concerns, the wig, the scars, the story, the journey. I wonder…how will it be fulfilled. When will I raise the torch, or do I already hold it. I want it to matter, I want it to make a difference and if I’m here for this moment, I want to make them count.
I’m really praying about some opportunities that may have landed right in my lap. You know I asked someone, when this was all over, “how can I talk about this”, “how do I get in front of people?”. He told me to pray. And, when I feel vulnerable, that’s what I do. I go to the One who gave me this journey and I ask to share His story. His transforming grace that gave me life.
So, yeah, that’s it.
I always seem to go back to this same place. Why do some die and some dont? Why do some live and some dont? If some get to live so that another’s dying was not in vain, do some die so that anothers living is not in vain? Oh that my living would not be in vain!