Deck pillows and other avoidance techniques

It’s when I start scrolling the internet for good deals on outdoor porch cushions that I know I’ve got a problem…

I’m trying to avoid.

Finding just the right pillow that will match my newly planted flowers was top priority yesterday evening, or so it seemed. There I was three sites in when I caught myself. I had pillows placed in three different carts – some striped, some floral, some solid. Did you know you can spend $75 on one deck pillow? #Potterybarn. And yes it was in my cart. I know – I was in full out avoidance mode. After 30 minutes of scrolling I realized I felt just as empty as when I had started. The $5 pillow I had picked up at Walmart earlier in the day would just have to do.

And I would need to sit in the yuck that I was running from.

My mom has cancer.

My mom has cancer.

My mom has cancer.

Maybe typing it multiple times so it shines back at me on my screen will help it all set in. Similar to the old school discipline technique of writing sentences 100 times promising to change the behavior of an elementary child.

I will not talk while the teacher is talking.

I will not talk while the teacher is talking.

I will not talk while the teacher is talking.

I actually still struggle with this one. It’s just better if I don’t sit next to a friend in church, or a conference or anything where I need to pay attention. I’m a verbal processor so it’s very likely I’ll feel the need to do so mid presentation. sigh.

There I go again. What were we talking about?

Oh yes.

Cancer.

My neighbor stopped me a few days ago to ask about mom. He said he was sorry and that he was praying. I believed him. His wife was taken by this awful disease 4 years ago. No history in her family that they new of. Out of the blue. Just like my mom. I responded that I was sorry that cancer was part of his story as well. There we were – a man that could be my father and myself – both holding our membership cards to a club you never want to join. We share a connection, a knowing.

This week my mom got to ring the bell. The one that signifies the end of treatment… in her case her chemo. There are bells in chemo and radiation clinics all across the world. When my mom rang her bell the staff of doctors and nurses and any staff in hearing distance clapped and cheered. My dad gave my mom a long hug. She had crossed an important finish line and her crowd had showed up to let her know what a very big deal that was.

My sister sent me a picture of the event. Neither my sister or I live close to my parents so we have taken turns each time mom has a treatment and she was there to celebrate the bell ringing. She promptly sent me a picture and I promptly posted on social media.

When I clicked over to instagram to share the big news… I found I was not the first of my friends to post a bell ringing picture. My moms pic would follow behind the news that a college friends young son had also finished treatment ……

for cancer.

And then yesterday….. a young mom from my community posted a picture of her bell ringing day, one stage of her treatment finished….

for cancer.

Another friend from town posted her pic after chemo #4. 13 to go.

Geez Louise.

Another friend shared she would not be able to attend a group of friends gathering today for tea because she was making a quick trip out of town to visit her dad… in between treatments…..

for cancer.

It’s dang everywhere.

Every.where.

As I sit and write this, eyes off the deck pillows and on to the reality I’m living I am reminded of some things that have also become clear in this season.

When I posted the pic of my mom ringing the bell I received over 400 “Likes” and counting. Countless comments of love, support, prayers, encouragement. It was beautiful – It is beautiful…

This unified community that surfaces when a cancer diagnosis is revealed. When strides are made to bring it to its end.

The demographics of the cheering fans was fascinating.

Different ages..

backgrounds….

skin colors

sexual orientations.

Im certain we all didn’t vote for the same candidate for president.

Some have been vaccinated. Some never will.

Some double mask, some have never felt cotton touch their facial skin.

Some have not left their house in over a year, others roam freely around the planet.

Some city.

Some country.

All showing up. Cheering in unity for my mom.

Because of cancer.

Interesting isn’t it?

It’s the one thing, the ONE thing…. that I have found that has had the power to gather us all – to lay down our differences that feel so loud and appear to be working so hard to drive wedges in our friendships and family bonds.

So Cancer. Listen up.

We see what you are trying to do. Kill. Steal. Destroy.

Somedays it feels like your are winning. Some days the darkness feels like it’s just too much.

But Cancer – you forgot.

You forgot the power of people when we get poked in the places that connect us all – our human fragility.

You forgot what happens when you mess with one of our own – one of God’s created. One that has been given a plan before they were even born. What you wanted to use to divide is actually causing us to unite. Nice try. Nice freaking try.

Over 400 likes – from a group as diverse as the day is long.

The most I’ve ever had for a post. As an extroverted, enneagram 7 with Significance in my top 5 strengths – I pay attention to these things.

Maybe cancer is our springboard. Maybe its the place we can all sit in agreement. Maybe its the hot cup of coffee that brings us to the table in empathy, love and a listening ear. Maybe its the starting point for healing and conversation.

It’s this belief, this opportunity I see in this very hard season… It’s the truth that lifts my eyes from my deck chair pillows and on to…

You.

I actually don’t need any more deck pillows……

4 thoughts on “Deck pillows and other avoidance techniques

  1. What wonderful thoughts, Beth! We are 2 years in with Gary’s journey and maintaining his tumor is the only thing the drs are trying to do. Some days are really hard, the majority are not. Prayers are felt daily from family, friends and people we really don’t even know. Your words are so true! If deck pillows make you smile, hit the order button and enjoy. It’s the little things!

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  2. You’re right, Beth! My Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer-4 years ago! He is 90 and cancer free right now!!!
    Thank you for causing me to pause….to settle. Life is short-at any length. Spend it on “importance”. Importance to me is LOVE! ❤️

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  3. Beautiful Beth!! Thanks for pointing out that Family is everything! Prayers for your mom as time moves along.

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  4. Beth, I totally understand your frustration. But to give you some perspective, just remember, lots of us survive. There is a lot of pain, stress, fear, and so many other feelings in dealing with cancer. Just depends on which side of this disease you are on. The one going through the treatments and the one wishing they could fix it. Love to you, praying that your Mom comes into full recovery.

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