The power we have in the choice of our own perspectives is what opens the door for hope, faith, being and a meaningful life. Within the last two months, in my upper 30s, I have embraced this more than ever. So many things have happened that required a mindful shift in perspective.
The most meaningful was learning shocking news that one of my best friends of 20+ years was being brought to the fight of her life. Having discovered a pea sized lump in her breast at four months pregnant with her third child, she would learn a week after giving birth that she in fact has Stage 3, Grade 3 breast cancer. Cancer that had grown to the size of a baseball in less than six months.
To say I was gutted when I learned the news would be an understatement. I cried every darn day for weeks as the news sunk in, as I remembered every day and precious moment we have shared these years together. Our first conversation on her front stoop, our circle of friends and boyfriends past, our love of music, fun times rowing around Burke Lake and walking the trails behind our neighborhood. Teenage life was sweeter because of this beautiful soul.
I wasn't crying because I believe that cancer is a death sentence. In fact, I believe for her it's been a shift of perspective. I'm not afraid for her either. I cried because I know her inside and out, backward and forward. I know what she's built of and what she's capable of, even when life would throw her curve balls and she didn't know these things herself. We have a connection beyond words, a connection between beings unlike anyone else in my journey. My first inclining of the "knowing side" of my life came when we would spend time together. Her close family members are my "extended family" here and I love them as I love my own blood. My beloved friend and her family are in just as much shock and disbelief as I am.
The hardest thing for me to accept those first few weeks was that I now live away from her and her family. I felt so helpless in that I couldn't be there physically the way I wanted to be. In fact, my first visit with her post diagnosis and new baby was a divine gift orchestrated by the Universe. Making that first visit occur contained obstacles that I didn't have solutions for. Despite this, it happened just as it was supposed to. Accepting this truth, the angst of being away, accepting that this life I have built here had limitations, I still had to turn my unhappiness with the situation into something positive. So I did just that. I listened to the Universe and took inspired action.
As the weeks have passed, I have watched her path unfold. The inspired actions I continue to take play a small roll within that path. This week she bravely faces her third chemo treatment date. Through this diagnosis I can honestly say I have seen her rebirth. I have come to know the person I have always known was there in those hard times of the past. The person she thought she was is no longer there, newly replaced by a stronger and better version of herself.
I'm seeing the lights switch on and the dots connect in her story. Every single hardship brought her to exactly where she is supposed to be right now fighting this fight. Had she not had those hardships she would not be surrounded by her mom in a positive environment of compassion, love and respect. Each moment, no matter how unbelievable and unbearable, has come together to make a beautiful picture. When we spoke about these things we were both sitting there in utter awe at it all, staring at the fall leaves in the backyard, feeling the wind against our cheeks. Best part is, her story is still a work of art, a masterpiece in the making.
I know she gets this now. I know that she believes, she hopes and that she is falling in love with herself for the first time in a new way unknown to her before this life hiccup. Cancer has been the catalyst of that gift. I have faith that she will win this fight. I also have faith that if it doesn't happen as we believe and want it to be, that the person she is becoming right now, the person she is remembering within, that person, she is the one she has always wanted to be. Yes, this becoming, is exactly what it is supposed to be. This gift is a beautiful change in perspective.
As our other dear friend Susie always says, life is messy but it is always beautiful around the messes and filled with grace. Susie herself has had her own life obstacles that have created a new creature unlike any other. She doesn't just say those words, she has lived them. Together with many others we are embracing our sweet friend and lifting her up and through this chapter. Just us all coming together again has been an amazing gift as well.
My friend with cancer said it best, "through this rough year, and recent news, I have learned that ONLY love & connecting with people REALLY matter. ♥"... As strangers have reached out with kindness, care, concern and love we have all been changed and awakened. As old friends, new friends, and her family surround her, we are all remembering what is truly important on this journey. This cancer, it has been the gift that is changing all of our lives for the better in the present moment because we are all being reminded of the collective consciousness that is love, compassion and being human.
I have not just seen this gift recently with her. Another dear friend's mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer a couple of months ago and has since passed. She watched her mother's own awakening to the goodness of life, to the love of people and the kindness of strangers and old friends. Watching her mother go through that in turn shifted this friend's perspectives of life, creating her own awakening. She even told me that Katy Perry's Wide Awake was her new theme song.
To see both of these amazing souls shine, it is incredibly and deeply moving. I will love both of them each day I am breathing. I too am on this journey and I too am wide awake.