I opened the back door and encouraged Mystie to cross the threshold into winter, the biting wind, and the falling snow. She surveyed this new and frigid environment for a moment and at one point refused to go outdoors at all. After some coaxing on my part, she relented, did her business, and turned around and scaled the mounting peaks of snow in order to return indoors as quickly as her little legs would carry her. Her tiny paws and face covered in snow, Mystie hopped inside our home while wagging her tail furiously, even though she was cold, shivering, and obviously uncomfortable. I immediately praised her and cradled her in my arms while gently wiping the snow off her trembling body with a dry washcloth. My husband got up out of bed and began shoveling a path for her to walk along the next time she has to go outdoors.
Sometimes, we think that we just can't do something. We just don't have the strength to take yet another step or to forge ahead through the obstacles that are blocking our paths. I remember thinking those thoughts when I was in the midst of receiving chemotherapy. It was hard, very hard. And even now, years later, I still sometimes feel defeated, or I worry about what the next test will show. Viewing a little puppy who's venturing out for the first time into the elements of cold weather pales in comparison to the struggles we face on a daily basis, but the point is that we are both strong and we persevere. We have to persevere, for there really isn't any other option. Breast cancer has taught me to never give up, to never look at the gale-force winds that continually try to strip me of my fortitude ... or my faith. Cancer has shown me that the only thing to focus on is God's love for us all, and to anticipate His warm arms cradling us, as He wipes away our tears, melting our fears. Once again.