Today has been a pretty normal Friday…kids went to school, I ran 6 miles, did payroll and bookwork all afternoon. My sister, Layne, and her boys came down for a few days so I was so happy to see them this afternoon.
Tonight, though…things have been different.
First, I went to the local American Cancer Society Relay For Life for the first time as a Survivor. Tiffany and I went together and participated in the Survivor festivities, including introducing ourselves in front of [pretty much] the whole community. THIS was also a first for me. When they started passing the mic around I thought I may stroke out…good thing my dr wasn’t here to check my blood pressure;-) I decided that I would rather speak in front of the biggest crowd in St. Louis than to say,
“My name is Erica Griffin. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer on September 16, 2008.”
It.was.that.hard. Crazy. But as each person began to tell their name and diagnosis, I felt more and more like I belonged. I am so glad we went. Of course, I wouldn’t have done it without Tiffany, but what else is new;-)
All the survivors were asked to write on a square piece of material so that they could made into a quilt and displayed at next year’s Relay. In keeping with tradition, we made ours together:
After the Relay, I came home to watched my DVR-ed “Stand Up To Cancer” telethon. I have been so excited to watch it, and be inspired by all the work that is done and the people who come together to fight this terrible disease.
The show opened up with many celebrities from the world of TV, movies, music, and sports talking about the things that cancer doesn’t care about. Here are a few.
Cancer doesn’t care:
- that you’ve won the Olympic gold medal.
- if you’re beautiful, or brilliant, if you just got into college, or just got your first car.
- if you have your whole life in front of you.
- how many Oscars you’ve won; or how many tough guys you’ve played.
- that it just took your father.
- what time you have to wake up in the morning, every morning.
- where you come from, or where you’re going…it just doesn’t care.
- that you scored the most points in NBA history.
AND then the one that really got me. Cancer doesn’t care:
- that you have young children that need their mother. –this was from Elizabeth Edwards, by the way.
Whoa. That one made my heart stop for a second. And it’s so hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t personally been through it. To have my own life threatened, through no fault of my own, is one thing…but for something like cancer to force itself into my children’s lives, uninvited and unwelcome, is almost too much for me to bear sometimes.
It is in times like these that I have to remind myself that, as a Child of God, I don’t have to carry this frustration around. I can lay all my cares at the feet of my Lord and He will take them from me. OR, more likely for me, I can crawl up into my Father’s lap and cry and tell Him how I feel…that this isn’t fair, and I didn’t do anything to deserve this, and why open my family up to such pain…and because I know that He listens, and He not only hears every tear I cry but He catches them in His Hands. It is in this moment, that all my cares are cast on Him and I can be at peace. This is the only place where true peace and hope can be found.
The biggest lesson I have learned through my journey with breast cancer is that
Everything is for MY GOOD, and for HIS GLORY. Period.
And I have to trust in that. It is the foundation on which I stand. God is my Rock, and He has bigger plans for me than I could even imagine. Whether it is here on earth or in Heaven, the plans are perfect simply because they are His.
And it is because of His great love for me, I have hope…
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11