I had never wanted to skip the elevator and take the stairs more in my life. I needed to move. I could not endure pushing the button, standing still to wait, or the awkward elevator ride with strangers. Everything inside wanted to scream “No, this is not happening to me for the 2nd time.” I couldn’t take the elevator that day.
I was leaving an appointment, a conversation with a doctor about cancer.
I have cancer.
Again. For the 2nd time in my life. Cancer 2.0.
“How could this happen?” I kept tearfully asking the doctor. Each time she found a new way to explain it. But, I wasn’t really asking for an explanation, it just seemed truly unbelievable to me with all the steps (I mean hard, difficult right steps to prevent this very moment from ever happening in my life) to hear the words “you have cancer”. Somehow, it happened. I couldn’t prevent it. I did not have the control I had wanted to have and that felt scary. My life would not be my own for a little while. I knew this well.
How do I even do this? When life is sweet with a beautiful family, and so much to hope for ahead. How do I do this?
Sometimes we can’t take the elevator and we have to take the stairs. In life.
The stairs maybe aren’t our first choice. Stairs are more work and it’s hard. I’m taking the stairs in life right now. Could you possibly be doing the same? The stairs don’t have to be cancer for you.
Hopelessness, depression, anxiety, loss of a loved one, financial difficulty, a lost marriage, a sick child or parent, relational pain, loneliness – It is hard not to be fearful when we lose control.
The truth is, what we always control is our response. Our response is the only thing we can own sometimes. It’s the something we can do something about.
Even in the pain of it all, could we start to see some good? Could the stairs actually make us better?
Maybe the stairs will make us more brave, more loving, more strong, more authentic, more determined, more empathetic? Could they help us notice some things we’ve been missing before? Could the stairs work out some things inside us, for the better?
And for the fear, we are not alone. We have a God who created us and loves us. He brings order to chaos and purpose to the pain.
I believe he never intended for us to do life on earth without him. Never. It’s too hard.
Are you weary from the stairs?
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”
Psalm 34:18. This verse from the Bible has been true in my life. He is close when I am broken-hearted. He walks the stairs with me when I invite him to do so. He is a gentleman. He does not force himself on us. We choose him and he is there.
I found myself taking the stairs every time for every visit after that. It somehow felt like I was working something out on my way up and letting something go on my way down. The stairs became my friend.
Maybe these stairs of cancer are doing some needed work.
Forcing me to slow down. Giving me more time with my husband, my kids, my friends and my family. Even in the pain I’m starting to see some good. I could not at first, but I remembered, I have spent years training myself to see gratitude, always look for the good in the hard stuff. It’s time to use that. It helps. I have 82 more days on the stairs. We will see where they lead me. I’m pretty sure I’m moving up and a better version of me is forming. That’s the fight; that’s the win.