Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's Not About Me...

The Big Guy on my shoulder is talking to me again. I’ve been hiding. I’ve been running. He always finds me.

An old story I read as a teenager comes to mind. As a child, I always had my nose in a book. Still do, actually. I don’t remember the name of this particular book, but it involved an injured dog.  The main characters of the story were fearful that their pet ran away from home, since they hadn’t seen their faithful friend for several days. I remember feeling a profound sense of loss as I was reading the story. I could relate, as I had experienced such sadness when my Bumpy run away from home. This story ended better than mine, however. The family finally found their beloved pet hiding under their front porch. The dog had been severely injured and was isolating himself as he healed.

I compare my partial withdraw from most things related to Melanoma to that long ago story. I’m healing, I’m processing. But you can’t run forever, Forrest. You can’t hide forever either. Life has a way of forcing itself on you, whether you’re ready for it or not. Some days I feel like I can tackle the world and dive in. Other days, I can only get my big toe wet.

With the month of May fast approaching, Melanoma Awareness Month, I feel like I’m being pushed closer and closer towards the water, and off my solitary island.  I’m afraid.

I see the stories of young children as they are battling this heinous disease. I feel the mothers pain as they try to be optimistic for their child and to be an anchor the rest of their family. Even when she feels like she can’t go on anymore, she does.

I see the pain of a brother or a sister as they try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after they bury their sibling.

I read about a mother and a father as they try to find some sort of joy left in their world after they lost their child. How do they go on? I don’t know.

I read about a mom that shares her daughters last day on earth with her own birthday. That one rocked me to the core.

The stories are endless. I shy away from them, the photos, the fear, the pain. I’m afraid if I get too involved, I’ll sink.

But then last Sunday, in church, I’m singing an old familiar hymn . I know this song and I sing it without reading the words. Instantly, I’m ten years old sitting between my parents on Easter Sunday. I’m proudly wearing my new dress, my shiny patent leather shoes, my hat with the pink ribbon. And my white gloves. I have the corsage on my left wrist that my Grandma gives us every year. I remember the excitement as I open the refrigerator that morning and I see the white box containing my lily. I can hear the paper crinkle as mom carefully takes out the flower and allows me to hold it. I’m a princess and God loves me. I knew it then, and I know it now.

I never in a million years would have imagined then, that I’d be clinging to that foundation of my youth today.

In that moment, while I’m reflecting on the Easters of my childhood, I am reminded once again of God’s promise. He isn’t going anywhere. He promised to be with me no matter what, and He keeps His promises over and over again. He won’t let me drown if I get more than my toe wet.

So though blind faith, I’m giving it a greater effort. I’ll wade a little deeper and trust that although I have no idea what I’m doing, He does. Deep breath. I’m planning to do another billboard for May. I know this will generate exposure to melanoma, and that is what I want. But I’m still afraid. I’m afraid of what may happen to the progress I’ve made so far. But it isn’t about me, is it?  

I don’t do this for me, I’m doing it for you.

I do it for those that have never had the hair stand straight up on the back of their necks when they find out from their doctor that their precious, vibrant child has melanoma.

I do it for the parents who realize that if they had only known about the dangers of tanning beds and laying out in the sun, they wouldn’t be taking trips to see their oncologist every three weeks.

I do it so a young person can finish college, start their career, get married and have a family.

I do it so a parent doesn’t have to bury their kid.

I’d like to have this billboard honor those that have melanoma or have died from melanoma as a result from tanning beds. I’ll need help through donations to get this up and running before May. If you are so inclined, please click the donate button on the blog. No amount is too small. We’ve done it before, we can do it again. I believe that. The cost of the billboard last year was 1600.00. Let’s do this. Together.

Thank you.

~Peace and so much love