As I look back on my year of breast cancer treatment I have many happy memories that have pushed the memory of the grief to the background.
Had you told me at the start of my journey that would happen, I would probably have thought you were just offering me empty words of hope.
Another quote from C.S. Lewis rings true:
Bridge players tell me there must be some money on the game ‘or else people won’t take it seriously’. Apparently it’s like that. Your bid – for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity – will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high; until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man . . . out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.
A Grief Observed p 33
And so when the stakes have been horribly high for me I have discovered some deep truths that I could learn no other way.
I have been able to explore myself, my faith and my life. Being forced to move my thinking to the potential end of my life makes it much easier to see the difference between what is important and what is urgent.
And a big discovery is that little things matter a lot.
Yesterday on the radio I heard a discussion about what makes us happy. Most of the debate was about how much money we need to have, and then one man phoned in with a gem of a comment. He gave a 5-step framework for generating happiness. Some simple advice on how to engage with life.
Connect – Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to other people and engage with them in what they are doing.
Be Active – Move your body as much as you can. Find some form of exercise that you enjoy and enjoy it.
Be aware – Move your focus of attention from yourself to what is happening in the lives of those around you and elsewhere. Take a bigger picture view of community.
Give – Your time, your attention, your money . . . to make a difference for others.
Keep Learning – Be curious, look at things differently, explore new things.
His list gives a good starting point for anyone facing a journey through grief