Cancer does stink, but we control the fragrance of our journey. Too often, and rightfully so, our perspective of cancer weighs on the negative. When we decide to choose our journey from a perspective of optimism and positivity good things happen to our psyche and well-being. Inspiration emerges as a strong motivator with various positive side effects.
Fortunately, I am able to share the side effect of enhanced awareness from personal experiences. Being diagnosed with cancer and subsequent treatment alters the way we see, hear, listen and recognize opportunities to do good to help people hurting from life’s challenges. Following are some personal stories to possibly help you recognize this gift of awareness.
I was at Home Depot buying hardware and as is their courtesy the cashier was standing at his checkout lane and offered to cash me out. When he spoke I knew he was hearing impaired, this from having a sister who is hearing impaired and teaches the hearing impaired. He asked how I was doing, so I mentioned that last night I had participated at a tent for cancer’s Relay for Life Walk. Immediately he said he has been thinking about volunteering to help others. I gave him my daughter-in-laws name and phone as she is the Activities Directory at a local organization providing numerous benefits and activities for the young and adolescent and they can always use volunteers. He said he would call her.
The next day while meeting with a woman in her 80′s about a home improvement project, we spent more time sharing thoughts about life. She mentioned she had inherited her dog upon the death of her daughter last Fall. She said she is so happy to have the dog as a companion and as a living tribute to her daughter. Upon the passing of her husband in February the dog became even more important to her. She is also 11 months into rehabilitating from hip replacement surgery. She draws from her religious teachings and church friends to keep her positive outlook and strength. I mentioned my new book, Life’s Notes – Down to Earth Insights for Well-Being. She asked where she can buy the book. I said that was not necessary as I will bring her a copy. She was so gracious and grateful. She left an impression on me that will endure.
Yet the next day, I fulfilled my volunteer commitment to mow the lawn for a friend having a difficult time with cancer. When finished mowing I was invited in for a bottled water. He was sitting in a recliner, was physically weak and emotionally weakened. We talked about cancer, the good around us and within. Before I left, I shook his hand and gave him a hug. He was touched and said thank you. I may have been touched more by his inner strength and graciousness.
It is not uncommon for things like this to happen around us. What is less common is how we react to these occurrences. Being a cancer survivor brought forth this enhanced awareness to recognize times like this where from volunteering, be aware and truly listening to others we have opportunities to do good and touch other’s lives.
When I experience occurrences like these I continue to wonder that it is not coincidence that more opportunities like these continue to happen each week to me. I am convinced that there is a greater power bringing goodness my way. Without fail, I always say to people that I am grateful our paths have crossed. I always thank them for their time and sharing their story with me. In a strange way, cancer can be a blessing.