Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Courage to Explore the Dark

Recently a close friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor. To me, that was darkness itself, but she did not react in that manner. She was upbeat and positive, sure that all would be well. Her family realized the seriousness and came from states away to be with her when she had surgery. Everyone around her felt the intensity of the situation. Yet she remained her smiling, happy self. The surgeon was able to remove the tumor in its entirety, but is was cancerous and - to make matters worse - he determined that it had not originated in her brain, but had moved from another area of the body. Not good news; it was getting darker in these woods. But still she remained positive. A complete body scan revealed - nothing. There was no sign of cancer anywhere else in her body. Where did the tumor originate? Her doctors decided that chemotherapy was necessary since they could not locate the source. She came home, only to return to the hospital after a week because she was not healing as well as they hoped and there was a great deal of fluid accumulating around her brain. The doctors installed a shunt to drain the fluid and are keeping her in the hospital for a week to monitor her. Still, as long as she knows she is loved and she has food (LOL She does have her appetite!), she is not allowing the darkness to take over her mind. She has decided to retire early and stay at home with her family. She has a small at-home business that will take up her time and keep her busy. As of yet, all that she has voiced are the positives about her situation. And then I realized why the darkness was not taking over her persona. She had ventured off the beaten path. She had pulled together her courage and when life's road gave her an unexpected twist, she forged head-on into the darkest woods and explored her situation. In doing so, she had to face the dark, but she was also able to find what was hidden there: the opportunity to retire early, concentrate on her family and her cottage business, and to find out what was in store for her life on a path that she had not considered in the past. She is aware that she will have to dwell in the darkness for at least a time; however, she found a way to illuminate the darkness enough to make it habitable. Now it is up to the rest of us to learn from her courage and to dampen down the darkness that rises up from within when we look at the situation and do not see it from her perspective. We can either add to the darkness or help her illuminate it. I hope that we rise to the challenge as well as she has.

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