Paying penance

I’ve just passed my third year anniversary mark. As many of you remember, this long contorted journey officially started December 25, 2016. A day that will always be hard to forget, but easier to remember with each passing anniversary. A day that marked physical, emotional and spiritual metamorphosis in my life. I went into the cocoon of uncertainty and have emerged…better. Maybe not butterfly worthy, but not beaten.

I so enjoy life now. All of it. Laughter, joy, snuggles, warmth, food, exercise, tantrums, sorrow, physical therapy, pain, nausea, even uncertainty. It all brings the one thing that I was longing for- a life to be lived. I can look to the future now with a confidence that I didn’t have before. It’s not necessarily the confidence that I will be here to see it. It is the confidence that I have made a mark; however minuscule it may be, my story, my love, my life is out there. I didn’t feel that way before. At least not to the same scale I do now.

Before, I was the bread winner. Work often came first (I’m sure my employer would argue that) but it did. I missed the practices, games and recitals. I paid for the lessons and the camps. That was my contribution. But I was too busy with work to enjoy life. It was stressful. It kept me up at night and ill-rested the rest of the time. It made me short-tempered and frustrated. But that is working life as I know it and knew it. Is there something more for someone like me?

If you asked me if I liked what I did though, it is a resounding YES. I like working as an NP. I like helping people. I like critical thinking and decision-making. But now I see life so differently. The best things in life are free.

Why has this changed you may ask? I’m not 100% sure, but I would say a big part of it is the love I have been allowed to share. I have gotten to know more people, be a part of more things I enjoy, surround myself with what I want instead of what I think I need. To live a fulfilling life focused on what really matters. But I’ve been worried more lately because love doesn’t pay the bills.

I have become accustomed to this “luxurious” lifestyle. All be it one filled with doctors appointments, therapy, fatigue and pain. But I ask myself, what can I contribute to society and what can I keep for myself? What will be worth the sacrifice? Because there will be sacrifice in one way or another. Will it be the house? Or time with my children? Will it be financial comfort? Or the ability to go to church  or help out with school? What seems to be an emotional luxury, has been my life line of love for 3 years now. How do I sacrifice my emotional framework, yet maintain a roof (it is a great big roof don’t get me wrong- do I sell the house?) and lifestyle that I live? Am I being too greedy? These are not questions I have to answer today, tomorrow or even next year, but they are the questions that I ponder. What do I deserve?

Three years. One year of utter uncertainty. One of torturous treatment. One of piecing a body together and recovery. What is my penance? How will I continue to pay the price to be happy? And at what cost will it come?

I guess I’m thankful for the worries that I have now. Trust me. I do look at it that way. It’s way better than wondering how/if you be here tomorrow. I think that’s what I need to focus on. And let God guide me in the rest.



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