Maybe I'll slide back with time. Perhaps my footprints on the sands of time won't be so fresh, so nicely edged, but instead will show patterns of decay. Steps that show one step forward two steps back. Maybe I'll go back to shaking hands instead hugging. Maybe I'll go back to holding in the tears instead of letting them flow. Maybe I'll go back to being strong instead of open.
But I don't want to backslide. I don't want to wall myself off. But I know that it could happen. When my drug therapies are over and the cards and well wishes trickle down to almost nothing and I have finally pasted my five year test? What happens when I become the old "strong" me again?
Being strong isn't bad.... but it isn't everything either.
I like the new me, who weeps to see S&S (you know how you are) smile and share a few words with me about their Mom, Dad or brothers. Or Sarah C. showing me how well she can ride her bike. Or Tomas or Anthony telling me some small thing that has made their world a larger, brighter place. Just seeing a healthy child in motion is such a beautiful sight.
I like the me who talks to the plants in her garden to see how they are doing, letting them know how beautiful they are.
I like the me who is still learning the strange but wonderful language of my four cats.
I like the me who sings her prayers, and laughs at stillness, and hope all the time, without even knowing it, because it's so much a part of me.
I like the me who wakes up in the morning feeling joyful that there is so much to do instead of being encumbered because there is so much to do.
I like the me who welcomes pain as a friend because it reminds me that I'm alive.
I like the me who isn't bothered by the clutter and chaos of my desk but covers it over with sure knowledge of what is important and what is not.
I like the me who trusts the spirit more than the calender, date books and lists.
I've always had the cool silent, determined courage of strength. Now I have the warm flowing, wining courage of weakness as well.
So I pray, "Let me grow in health and illness, into the new me. Let me be worthy of the new me. Let me be thankful for the old me.... for the old me was a gift too.... but keep me vulnerable. Let every part of me move toward the whole me."
Now that my cancer has returned, I'm vulnerable, scared and glad.