A Month of Waiting
It has been one month since I first caught a glimpse of my scan results. While no expert I have learned to interpret these results with amazing accuracy.
The past few weeks have been full of doctor’s appointments which all present a myriad of options. Each option has risk/reward which must be weighed and compared with all the other options. There is one last appointment this Friday, and then we should be able to talk of future plans with some level of confidence.
When we started this journey in 2016 there were no options. Dr. Saroha simply told me what I was going to do. In some ways I miss those simpler days. The truth is that options equals hope. Doctors who would not talk to me before, want to see me today. I have been blessed and they want to be a part of any future treatment. Even in the midst of recurring cancer…God is good!
My Journal Talks
I came across something I wrote after meeting with my spiritual director. We met Friday, August 16, 2019. As we closed our time together he invited me to live and move with the attitude and spirit of the Jesuits. Seeking first to Discern God’s invitation, Doing what was discerned wholeheartedly, and thus Finding Joy & Peace. I was struck by his words. In a very real way they put words to the way I have sought to live and move a significant portion of my life. Notice the word “sought.” I have failed miserably many times over. Yet, if I am honest, peace has come when I have moved through life in such a manner.
Adapting the Lesson
As with most lessons like these I find myself adapting them to fit my experience with God and life. One of the greatest robbers of peace within my life is all that is left undone at the end of a day, week, or month. Moving in a weaker, slower pace has only served to remind me of how much remains on the table to be completed by someone else on some other day. Adapting this teaching just a little allows me to address that great thief of peace within my life.
Discern God’s Invitation:
The first step on the road to peace and joy begins with discerning God’s invitation for how YOU are to live YOUR life. As a unique individual God has a plan for you. Discerning that unique invitation is important. God is not inviting you to be a carbon copy of someone else. Your gifts, abilities, experiences, calling are special. Spending time discerning God’s invitation for you is essential. On a large (macro) scale, what is God’s invitation regarding career, relationships, where to live. The micro level begins to speak of how you spend time during the day.
Is God inviting me to put aside my plans and have coffee with someone today? Can I discern the Holy Spirit opportunities that are presented before me? If I am honest this is not an easy step. I have learned a lot by recognizing what I have missed. Mistakes are great teachers. When I failed to discern God’s invitation in one situation it prepared me to look at future opportunities through different lenses.
Do it Wholeheartedly:
Having discerned God’s invitation we are to throw one-hundred percent of ourselves into the work. Be it a relationship, job, task around the home, time of worship, period of rest, ministry opportunity, whatever the invitation it gets one-hundred percent of who I am. If the invitation is to a conversation with someone I work to stay engaged and listening. A task around the home or place of work, it is an act of worship…we are not simply “punching a clock.” If the invitation is to rest, well I do it wholeheartedly without a sense of guilt or shame.
As we approach life in this manner, offering all of ourselves to whatever God has invited us to we will find joy. Yes, there may be seasons of hardship and struggle, but even in those times we will have eyes to see the Spirit of God at work and that will bring joy to our soul.
Be at Peace with what is Left Undone:
At the end of every day there will be work left undone. If there is not I would question if we properly discerned God’s invitation. I must be at peace with what is left undone. The sun will rise tomorrow. People will come alongside to help in the invitation we discerned. If it is of God the work will be carried on to completion. If I gave a wholehearted effort for the day, I can be at peace with what is left undone. The phrase “content but not complacent” has come to help shape how I find peace at times like this.
Tomorrow is a new opportunity to Discern, Do, Find, and Be.
The Rest Just Falls Away
Learning to move through life Discerning, Doing, Finding, and Being allows the chaos, turmoil, anxiety and worry to become little more than background noise.
Sure, it still exists. There is no escaping the reality of life. Cancer is real. Yet God’s invitation is not for me to live each day as a cancer patient. There is a bigger, deeper invitation if only I have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Each of us has our thing. I cannot pretend to know what yours is. The challenge is to ask whether you are going to let “that thing” define you? Is your thing going to shape how you live each day or are you going to move in such a way that you find Joy and Peace?
I know, it is not easy.
The first step begins with discerning.
How is God inviting you to live, move, have your being today?