Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year: 2015 -- A Road Less Bendy?

It's been a long eight and a half months since I've posted to my blog. That's about long enough to create a baby! Or a new life. I'm beyond the new baby stage, but not beyond the new life stage.
My wife and I at a recent backyard wedding: with grandsons!

The winding roads of the last eight months are over: diagnosis, surgery, results, planning, chemotherapy, and radiation. These are the some of the winding roads that my wife's diagnosis of breast cancer has sent us on. And now? The road seems to be straightening out.

There are fewer doctor visits, with fewer unknowns. My wife's surgery and other treatments seem to have been successful. She is now doing rehab including Physical and Occupational Therapy in a program called STAR: Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation. She's on the road to recovery, and perhaps... overall improvements in health. Me too.

We traveled the cancer road together, a day at a time. The end of last school year and the summer encompassed the major difficulties: surgery, recovery, and chemotherapy. The new school year brought radiation and now, rehabilitation. Whew.

Life is a journey, that's how I look at it. Recently, I've read three John Green novels, An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in Our Stars, and then Looking for Alaska. It's adolescent fiction, and An Abundance of Katherines was reccomended to me by my oldest daughter. I enjoyed the books. Some of the themes touched close to home, including a question posed in Looking for Alaska:

“It's not life or death, the labyrinth. Suffering. Doing wrong and having wrong things happen to you. That's the problem. Bolivar was talking about the pain, not about the living or dying. How do you get out of the labyrinth of suffering?”

Well, lucky for me, a decade or so ago, I read a book: Don't Waste Your Sorrows. Yes, life has it's difficulties. It can be seen as a labyrinth of suffering. Or, it can be seen as a journey. Job put it this way, "As sure as the sparks fly upward, so man is born for trouble." 

I've had my troubles, and I'm sure you have too. My guess is that you and I are still having some troubles: that's life, or at least part of it. Under the "About Me" tab on my blog I wrote, I've "... had lots of experiences in life. None of them define me, but they have all refined me."

My troubles, my shared troubles over the past eight months, have continued to refine me. I'm still a work in progress. I'm on a journey. That journey is called life. And I'm trying to be a life-long learner. Troubles, suffering if you will, have been a part of that journey, providing a backdrop of challenges and difficulties that require choices. Hard choices. 

John Wooden put it this way: 

There is a choice you have to make,
In everything you do.
So keep in mind that in the end,
The choice you make, makes you.

I like that. Life is about making choices. Choices that make you: for better or worse. 

That's what I've been doing, making choices. Stepping forward. Sometimes stumbling forward. Sometimes taking a time for a nap, or a cry, or a blog post, but Aggressively Muddling On! 

A quote I discovered this year was "An optimist is someone who looks forward to the scenery on a detour." 

Some might think of this last eight months as a detour. It was and it wasn't. It may have been a series of winding roads, but the road led somewhere. It lead to here. (And there was plenty of good scenery along the way.) 

The facility where my wife goes for rehab has a gym. I joined it. They have exercise classes. I'm going to some. In fact, they have something called a Run Club. I've signed up for that. It starts in an hour. 

My journey seems to be transitioning out of the bends into a straight-away, or at least, A Road Less Bendy. Whew. I'm ready for that. 

I don't know where you are on your journey, but this from a fellow traveler, Keep going! Don't quit! It will be worth it all!   (Stumble forward! Or at least fall forward.) Here's hoping our roads are a lot less bendy for a while. 

Enjoy the journey. Savor the scenery!