So now – 2 ½ years post-treatment - I am still learning, but I am implementing the "Life is great. My plate is full, but I wouldn't choose another way" lifestyle. And - I've learned to say "No," even to things I really want to be a part of. And I haven't lost any opportunities to grow, so it must be OK to say no! I’ve learned to live for today – in the moment, because tomorrow will come, whether I worry about it or not.
All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, conspire to teach us exactly what we need to be learning at any given time. Patience, compassion, perseverance, honesty, letting go—all these are covered in the lessons of cancer.
I had dinner one evening, the night prior to my last chemo, with two friends. We were talking about life’s lessons, and what we were learning from the experiences we were having. In my innocence I said, “I am living this cancer as intensely as I can, because I want to learn every lesson cancer has for me to learn. So when treatments are finished, I can move on.” Both friends smiled, and said, “Oh Ronda, cancer will be teaching you for the rest of your life. There will be plenty of lessons you can learn from it.” And dang it – they were telling the truth!
If we can be firmly rooted in the present, and not stress what's lost, or what might have been, or what could be, but calmly move forward, one moment at a time, we will find what we thought we had lost. Or we can at least be OK with losing, because it is part of being found.
I believe we will understand more if we never assume we've arrived at the place where we know. We can reach a point where we are reasonably confident, enough to take action. But I believe human progression depends on always being open to new information, new insights, new possibilities, more lessons. If we are too certain, we might stop asking questions. And if we stop asking questions, we might stop altogether.
In my humble opinion – I have learned these lessons, as well as the ones mentioned – I have learned to live today today; to be patient with myself and others; to be gentle yet bold; to be authentic. To fall, get up, and begin again. Life is good.
John Banse, April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon Survivor said, "My soul is so full of gratitude that there is no room in me for sadness, anger, or fear." I can say the same.