On a sunny August afternoon in 2003, while I drove back to NYC from my trip to Savannah, GA, I began thinking about what I was about to face upon my return: chemotherapy.
My doctors had recommended this treatment as a safety measure. I had initially fretted about the reality that chemo would cause hair loss and other side effects, but after my trip, I had come to terms with everything.
I listened intently to “God is Real,” from India Arie’s CD Journey to India, the lyrics resonated in my spirit:
“… I jumped in the water. It was like I was seeing it for the first time. It literally changed my life. For the first time, I understood its power … that’s how I know that God is real.”
I focused on the road and reflected on my 3-day stay at the bed-and-breakfast in Georgia.
I remembered the serenity that I felt while I floated on a raft in the pool. With the mellow sounds of jazz playing lightly in the background and the harmonizing chirps of birds and other sounds of nature, I felt at peace. I let my feet dangle in the sun-drenched water and surrendered to the sanctuary of solitude. The other guests had checked out earlier that day, so I had the place all to myself. I felt the presence of God all around me. I began to pray for the strength that I’d need for the journey ahead of me. I eventually put my full body into the water.
I still had slight pain in my left chest from the mastectomy, and my arm was numb from the removal of my lymph nodes, so I didn’t swim. Instead, I just waded in the water; after a while, the pain dissipated.
Nature’s elements, the water, the birds, and the sun, were giving me the clarity that I needed. Then a montage of cherished memories came to mind: my daughter’s dance recital, me dancing to house music at the park, and the times I had brunch with my friends.
As the sun shined on my body, sweat did not appear; but tears of gratefulness did. Although my life had changed in an indescribable manner and I sometimes felt myriad emotions and questions, I realized that since my diagnosis, I cherished every breath that I took. I knew how blessed I was to be alive. I needed to keep the faith as God was preparing me for a journey that I could never plan. I would trust the process and move forward.
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