My first grade teacher, Mrs. Roberts, who is also my brother-in-law’s mother, explained cancer by calling it “a dark place.” That’s a perfect way to explain it. I am left with my mind to consume me. I don’t know if chemo will work. I don’t know if I’ll feel better tomorrow. I don’t know how long my life will be, but I know the odds are stacked against me. It’s always inside that dark place.
Then there is the pain! The hip crunching, leg buckling, feet numbing pain! As if the pain isn’t enough, the cherry on top of it all is the mental break down every 21 days as I am forced to surrender my freedoms, retreat into my home, and endure the pain as it were some type of cruel gift.
This dark place creeps in and lingers. It is a place inside me that hides my worst thoughts of self. It is the hidden corner of my mind where negative self-talk and doomed thinking dwell. In this dark place looms self-doubt, accompanied by discouragement and glimpses of despair. It is not a comfortable place. It’s not even a remotely good place. Darkness is unkind and lonely.
It’s a wonder for the light. This dark place, at which I frequently visit, yields to the light of kindness. It is brightened by acts of genuine love shown toward my family. The light shines from the many meals brought by diligent hands that have sacrificed time to prepare them. Rays of hope seep into my place as close friends relentlessly walk slow miles at my side. Beams warm my freezing body as my husband’s arms embrace me at night, while he comforts me with words about just getting through one more day together. Light brightens my soul as my mom appears each chemo week to help with kids, daily errands and the endless laundry. And then there are the gleaming rays of hope that come from the visits with family and close friends in person, by phone or by texts.
This light would have been swallowed by daily living. Had I not been given the invitation into this dark place, I never would have seen this beautiful light. I would have walked past it like old wall décor. Not now! Now this light is a beacon of life. It guides me when I am lost and lifts me when I am down. About this dark place, I say “of all things that are found there, fear is not one of them.” There is no fear because faith has left its lighted mark.