Friday, March 26, 2010

Are we not all strangers here?

As supported as I have felt during this entire process, it was a really difficult morning realizing that part of that support had serendipitously stepped out, as Brenda had a bad cold and would not be there, Denise was on a business trip and would not be there, and Dr. Stinnett’s office in Layton was shut down for vacation, which meant that Lisa would not be there either and we would be traveling to an office in Bountiful where complete STRANGERS would administer the Chemotherapy.

I tried not to cry when Justin said that it would be OK because he would be there and as much as I love and appreciate him; he is an extension of me and my heart, so it wasn’t the same! I know he was saying it would be OK because he knew that is what I wanted to hear, and I know he was just as nervous to be among STRANGERS.

When we were driving to Bountiful my mind was struck about this dynamic for all of us. We indeed are “STRANGERS in the earth…” (Psalms 119:19). We all became used to the companionship and associations that occurred in the pre-mortal realm, and at certain times in all of our lives we feel loneliness, as if we are STRANGERS here. That was me today and I yearned to the security of a more predictable time!

Honestly, it did not seem odd that it took us 15 minutes to find the office once inside the building and it did not seem odd that the calls and text messages had shut down for the morning; what seemed odd, given my mindset was seeing one of our oldest and dearest friends, Bill Brooke, sitting in the waiting room. He turned his sweet, 90 year old head, and started to cry and feebly rose to his feet to give me one of the most tender hugs of my life. We stood there in that embrace (trying to steady one another!) for quite some time and all he whispered was, “I’m so sorry!” This seemed odd coming from him because he was there waiting for his wife of 60 years, who is also dealing with cancer. I could not choke back my emotion and I just cried. I did not feel so foreign anymore and given that these new STRANGERS had been taking care of Edna, they were good enough for me; “Love ye therefore the STRANGERS for ye were STRANGERS in the land…”(Deut. 10:19).

My spirit was brightened as I walked in the back of the office to receive my vitals, and despite the fact that it was different than my previous experience, I felt welcomed though I was indeed a STRANGER to them. They went about their job with a great deal of compassion and even sang a song to us as we wrapped up the last round of THE RED DEVIL and lit a candle on top of Sparkling Cider! We were very excited.

After leaving the office, we decided to go to a restaurant in Bountiful before the effects of the medications started to set in. We were quickly seated and a woman approached our table. She compassionately took my hand and asked if I had Breast Cancer. I confirmed. She then told me that she was diagnosed 5 years ago and had just finished her anti-cancer meds in February. She went on to share a lot of really helpful pieces of information, but the most significant thing about her visit with me was not about what she said, but the reality that she had listened to the spirit and walked right into my life. I loved her immediately and understood that she had used her own personal pain to brighten a complete STRANGERS life (Matt 25:34-40). Little did she know, she had the same unique eye color as my Grandma Nelson (who died of Breast Cancer nearly 18 years ago), I could not help but believe that my Grandma had a little part to play in our meeting :).

I thank Heavenly Father for my new friend Karen and the fact that she was able to express the thoughts and intents of God to a STRANGER along the way (Mosiah 5:13) and the understanding that I gained that some of the Lord's greatest blessings are found in the serendipity of the journey!

It will be a wonderous reunion when we are back home, where there will be no more STRANGERS, much like going back to the Layton office for the Neulasta shot this morning and getting to hug Lisa.
It reminds me of a quote from an unknown author, "Our fingerprints don't fade from those we touch!"  Thank you all for touching me so profoundly.

'Mom's Heart' moment:  Yesterday morning we were trying to prep the boys for the goings-on of a Chemo day and who they would be spending time with etc, and Justin turned to Isaac and said, "Guess who you are going to spend time with today?"  "Who?", he retorted.  "With Grandma Karla!", Justin continued.  Isaac got a huge smile on his face and in elation stated, "Happy day!"  I am so grateful that these Chemotherapy days can truly be 'Happy Days' for my boys because of all of your love and support.  Thank you all.

1 comment:

  1. I love this Beck. It's been something on my mind lately too. Because some of the people I love the VERY most in my life were once complete strangers. The family I was a nanny for in CT in particular. If my life had taken any different path than the one it did at my ripe old age of 21, I would have never known those four beautiful, wonderful, amazing people who make my life so happy and complete. I think about it a lot and remind myself that today's stranger may be tomorrow's best friend.

    And I think of you a lot, too. I just can't express how much I love you.