Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Looking Back And Listening

It's funny how looking back at the little things in life can make such a big difference in how you feel right now. While cleaning out the bird feeders yesterday and removing the old, dried seed that was caked along the inside after months of my own neglect, I then refilled them with the new, sweet-smelling seed. All around me, it seemed, the birds chirped loudly from the treetops, as if they were scolding me, asking me to hurry up and finish this task so that they could enjoy their new food. I couldn't help but remember the days when I'd felt too weak and tired to do such a mundane task. Four years ago, while going through the chemotherapy treatments, I remember thinking that because I was newly diagnosed with breast cancer, I would probably die - and die soon. During those long days, filling the bird feeders was not only physically difficult for me to attempt, but my emotional strength was tested in ways that I never thought possible.

At that time my three children were 15, 9, and 6 years old. I remember praying that I would live long enough to see my son graduate from high school, and then when that occasion passed, I prayed to live long enough to see him enjoying his college years. Which is where he is today, a sophomore in college, soon to be a junior.

Looking back four years ago, I remember filling those same bird feeders on that brisk March day, and I recall crying as I prayed to God for Him to give me another season of Spring, or another vacation with my family, or another Christmastime with my children. As I prayed, I could almost hear my kids laughing along the beach. I could hear them tearing open the wrapping paper of their Christmas gifts. But the one thing I really remember hearing is my own voice, as I begged God - day after day - for more times to be with my family.

I still pray those prayers, but at this time in my life, even though the prayers are just as genuine as they were when I was going through the awful treatments, I am now able to pray the prayers with less tears. And with less pleading.

And with more gratitude for what God has given to me.

So today as I look out my kitchen window and notice a few birds enjoying their brand new seed, chirping and flitting about from one feeder to another, I need to remind myself to do something very important. I need to remember to pray to God - each day - and thank Him for giving me this time with my family, with my birds, and with my life.

Looking back makes me look forward with a new song in my heart, and a new outlook on life. I don't ever want to get to a point where I forget to look back. I don't ever want to forget to stop and listen to - and really hear - the songs of the birds.


PFunky said...

This post brought tears to my eyes...happy ones. I'm happy that you are sharing your story. It is a good one with a very happy ending. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to have children old enough to really understand what you went through. My kids are too young to truly get it, and I am fine with that! Amazing that refilling bird seed could spark such a memory...all my best!

Debby said...

Today in church, I was worship leader. Coincidently it was Cancer Sunday, where we pray for those who have lost their lives to cancer, for those who are dealing with the disease, and for a cure. Daffodils are handed out when it is over. The sermon was entitled 'Hope' and when it was over, there was an annointing for healing. Everyone expected that I would go for healing, and I did, but as I stood in line, it suddenly became clear to me, understood to the very depths of my soul: It is not about the cancer. It is about aligning your life with God's will. If you can do that then whatever difficulty you encounter in life is doable. Endurable. Temporary. I knew this before. I knew it intellectually. Now I 'know' it in my soul.

Kelly said...

This is a beautiful post. I haven't dealt with cancer myself, but I've lived through it on the "other side" having lost both of my parents to cancer when I was very young. I try to remember and thank God often for all that He's blessed me with. I sometimes get too complacent about my blessings.

I replied to you at my blog, but didn't know if you'd come back and see.... the cake was just a plain, boxed white mix. It called for egg whites (3) instead of whole eggs and I think that's what made it so very moist.

Anonymous said...

What a very inspirational post and so very true. I look forward to this spring as the true blessing that it is. Hope yours is blessed as well, full of lots of birds singing and family fun.

Kerry Osborne