My dear friend is recovering from breast cancer. Originally they thought she would not need chemo. Plans change. She has beautiful hair and has since I first met her about 27 years ago. She said to me, “I know it’s silly but I don’t want to lose my hair.” I told her I don’t think it’s silly at all. She is a kind person and a devoted Jesus follower. She is thankful she found her lump through self-exam. The mammogram missed it. She is thank for good healthcare professionals. She is thankful that it appears she will live to see all of her children graduate high school and college. We are all terminal. She understands that all too well in a year when she lost her own mom. She is thankful for a loving husband, a beautiful home, good friends and a great life. She still doesn’t want to lose her hair. I don’t understand that exact feeling, but I do understand that sometimes deep down inside, no matter how thankful we are and no matter how strong our faith, no matter how great our lives – we just don’t want have to experience certain things. Having faced a few of those occasions in my own life, I get that. We suck it up and we do it anyhow though. Doesn’t mean I have less faith or I am less of a person. Sometimes you just do what you gotta do. Sometimes you don’t like it and you don’t want to, but you do. As I sometimes tell students, you can always choose how you will play the hand you are dealt.
I’ve been thinking a lot about gratefulness and thankfulness lately. I think being grateful and thankful are some of the most important character traits. I have been pondering this for a while and not just because it is November which is when everyone is supposed to be thinking about giving thanks. I think the reason is because I am part of a very entitled culture. You can be rich and be grateful. You can be poor and be thankless. But we do live in a very self-indulgent time. I really feel old when I say this, but I just think about how I grew up and the culture I am now a part of and trust me, I live in a very self-indulgent and entitled culture.
So for the month of November, I am going to try to focus my blog on some of the ways I am thankful and on some things for which I am thankful. Today, I am thankful for chemotherapy, radiation, medicine and doctors and the staffs committed to administering it. I am sorry my friend and others lose their hair during that ordeal and for the other associated side effects. I am so thankful they will live, and we will laugh together and call the Hogs together many more times. I am thankful for my friends who have lived to see so much because of modern medicine. I am thankful for the West Clinic in Memphis and the good doctors who treated my husband Jonathan when he had cancer. I am thankful to celebrate his being 16 years cancer free. I am thankful that Rachel gets to experience the best daddy a little girl could have largely because of modern medicine. Mostly because of God’s goodness and grace. I struggle with that concept, too.
I am thankful for my friend. I, too, hope she doesn’t lose her hair. I know she is covered in God’s love and embraced by loving friends and family. She’s been through a lot lately so I’m really hoping. And I’m really thankful.
There is a song I like to sing that says, “Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy one. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ His son. And now let weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich because of what the Lord has done for us. Give thanks.”