It's now been 2 years since I finished Cancer Treatment. I spoke this weekend at the Canadian Cancer Society BC Volunteer Conference, it was a joy and the topic, of my choosing, was "You Matter, Receiving".
It also put me into some second year reflection. Gone are the casseroles and the 2 days in a row in the same pajama's, gone are the "I love you Fawna, Thinking of You Fawna, What Can I Do for you Fawna", gone are the cards and flowers and the random gifts. I'm fatter now, there is a paunch, and hair in my eyes, and hair on my legs. I hope you are laughing with me now, this is a totally false 'pity party'. I am so happy and the love that was inside of every casserole and message has stayed- multiplying in fact. The paunch is a sign of good living, of beers and pizza and watching movies and playing cards and campfires.
I'm sharing with you now after so long as I had kind of forgotten how much I like sharing my unique perspective (and how much I like to hear yours). I had 15 minutes to speak before dinner and within the first minute I had them in tears. Funny thing, it wasn't the story about a 28 year old with a 1 and 2 year old and Stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, I simply had them close their eyes, place a hand on their hearts and truly receive a thank you. There were tears and the tears shocked them.
One of the social media sites I'm on says that I have a "passion for helping helpers", it's true and when I saw that recently I thought "wow, when did I think of that?" as there may not be a consistent message in my social media, but that is another story.
I've blogged it before but it bears repeating, I would never tell a giver to stop giving, they can't, they won't, but if they don't keep their tank full- they won't have the option. Mark 12:31 Love your neighbor as yourself. This is not love your neighbor more than yourself, nor love yourself more than your neighbor and yet these are the two options we generally choose. There are loads and loads of blogs and inspirational messages right now about the importance of giving, sometimes I think they ignore the fact that there is about 1/2 the population who are wired to give, who's entire identity is caught up in giving. This is who I'm talking to. The ones who hold the flip flops and sunscreen while others enjoy the pool, who say they are happy- and they are because their happiness is dependent on the happiness of others. To them I am saying, jump in the pool, everyone will be the better for it. We can take turns caring and supporting, being cared for and being supported- take your turn, take it before Cancer, or Depression or and accident leaves you having to- forcing receiving, or ending up with the gross combo of receiving + guilt.
This was my message to the volunteers, the benefit of doing something twice is that you get to apply your learning from the first time. The first time I had cancer I had to do some receiving, but I blocked as much as I could, keeping on the brave face and asserting my fineness. The second time that went out the window, I received everything, every emotion that came my way- I opened it and it passed quickly- I received the thoughts as they came, I watched them and sorted them and only kept the ones that connected me to life. I received the gift of play when my friend showed up with Bubbles, I received the gift of art and a personalized yoga breathing session and healing treatments and prayers and pillows and food and holy water and love and tears and fears (my own and those of my friends) and from my spiritual mentors I received Truths.
Bottom line, it went easier, it went better, I recovered quicker and was back helping much sooner. If I keep typing that won't be the bottom line :)Thank You for being there (receive that please). As one of the participants so perfectly put it after the talk "I realized while you were talking that giving is receiving and receiving is giving". And that's all I'm going to say about that.