Seek beauty in every day
Almost twenty-five years ago I was diagnosed with my first cancer. Some days it seems so long ago that I walked into an urgent care to get an xray for my knee pain. Other days, it feels like a few weeks ago. Of course, that 21-year-old young woman never imagined she would clear cancer two more times. But I did learn quickly to seek beauty in every day.
Shortly into a 13-month chemotherapy and surgery protocol for osteosarcoma (bone cancer), I graduated from college, wearing a wig and on crutches. That night, I was admitted to the hospital due to an infection. I stayed for 17 days, had multiple blood transfusions and fought the infection along with cancer.
Halfway through that stay, I was desperate for fresh air and sunshine. My oncologist honored my request to sit in the hospital’s garden so my nurse wheeled me down, IV in hand. There I sat in stillness. Feeling the breeze on my bald head. Watching birds hop around hoping for food from other guests. Listening to the tree leaves softly move. Studying the flowers. Listening to other guests laugh and talk, taking a break from whatever joy, sadness or other that brought them to a hospital.
I found myself smiling. I felt my heart beating strong. A peace and appreciation for that day, my life, settled on me. And I promised myself that I would always seek beauty in every day. In the common things of life, the big and small events, the lessons learned, adventures and more.
Keeping my promise
From that moment on, I kept my promise to myself. Thankfully, my life has been full of amazing moments, laughter, love, travel, adventures, accomplishments, simple pleasures and magnificent moments. But I honor that promise through all of the days, even the ones burned into my mind and heart for the heavy and heartbreak.
At my dad’s funeral, while I stared at his coffin, willing my heart to stop shattering, I noticed the sweet scent of the flowers and how he would have appreciated the burst of colors.
During chemo for breast cancer, I listened for the soft laughter and kind voices of the nurses and other patients. I sought comfort in the smiles and hugs from my mom and sister.
Every day I went to radiation during breast cancer treatment, I sat in my car for a few moments appreciating the pretty flowers that lined the walk.
In so many dark moments of my life, choosing to see beauty somewhere around me helped me stay focused on all that I appreciate – being alive.
Appreciating the beauty of being alive
Each day since I heard ‘it’s cancer’ almost 25 years ago, I wake and put my hand on my heart, feeling it beat, reminding me how very lucky I am to be alive. And every day I look around me to notice something of beauty. I particularly love the beauty of seemingly small things and gestures. For those are what make it worth pushing forward.
Does seeking some beauty in every day stop the sadness or other heavy emotions that sometimes appear? No. But I’ve learned it helps hope flow through the dark, weaves peace into my heart, seek possibilities from problems and reminds me not to take one moment of this messy, crazy, broken, beautiful life of mine for granted.
Let’s seek beauty in every day and share that with others. What beauty have you noticed today?