I have three friends battling cancer.
One ovarian. One colon. One leukemia.
One is married. One has a life partner. One is single. Otherwise they are the same woman, the same personality type, living the same life journey right now, which brings to mind: common denominators.
Each woman has been a powerhouse, vivaciously active in her church...deeply engaged in causes...passionate about her own life, deeply invested in her family and friends. Each is known for her caring heart...compassionate about those she loves. And those that love her back, love her deeply.
Each never met a stranger and has often been known to take a few in. Each loves doing for others. Each is the first to recruit, spearhead, launch a cause, and each is known to see any such causes through to the end. Each is a servant at heart.
Each of these women is known for her giving (and giving, and giving).
Each is charismatic...a magnet of loving energy; not afraid to speak up, speak out ...speak her mind, especially when it comes to justice and right and all things "fairness" ...especially when it comes to those less fortunate.
Each has a reputation for reliability and tenacity, professionally, personally....most of all spiritually. Each has a vast network of spiritually-minded friends who have not stopped praying from the time we got the news.
But oddly, there's another common denominator I'm noticing here of late.
These once vibrant women, known for giving everything they've got to most anyone who asks, they've had to learn boundaries. They've had to learn "No." Time once given freely is now a precious commodity second only to their energy, which they're likewise learning to preserve.
While those of us helplessly watching may want an update, a visit, or direction on how we might help, we too must learn patience. In their silence, we grow. We seek answers from their care-givers (who likewise must conserve energy) but now is not necessarily the time...Something as simple as a phone call is costly; energy once easily shared, now must be spared.
Odd thing about cancer: it packs a silent punch.
Each of my friends is a leader. Their magnetism for recruiting others... their passion for causes, it's contagious. Yet as vocal and visible as these women have been in the past, today each lives a silent existence, encircled by caregivers faced with the uncomfortable task of keeping others at bay as they circle the wagons to help them conserve precious fuel, for their energy once freely given, today must be paced. Their very lives depend on it.
God bless their caregivers and significant others, no doubt zapped to the max physically, emotionally, spiritually for what they're living each day. These precious jewels that share their homes, their beds, their day to day lives, are now jewels buried deeply within the sands of their own private lives. The energy it took to shine for us, they now need turn inward for themselves.
I came to know these women through serving. A homeless board here, a charitable trust there. I go to church with a third. They are servants at heart...Glowing gifts to this planet...Angels, sorely needed on earth.
I can only pray earth hasn't used them up. I pray that for all they have given to others, they are able to give themselves. My prayer is yes, for them, but selfishly for us. May the silence heal you...for in these moments, you teach and touch us still.