Friday, July 9, 2010

July 10, 2010

We know we do not travel this alone and today I’m going to send a special note of prayer for my friend Leslee. I went to undergraduate school with her and there is one thing that ALWAYS sticks in my mind when I think about her – laughter. When I as at my lowest I could count on Leslee to make me laugh. Without a doubt she was there with a smile as bright as the morning sun and something to laugh about. I’m not even sure if Leslee knows or remembers hanging around me that much – I was somewhat of a loner in college, struggling to find my own way. But she was a very influential thread in the fabric of who I am. Now Leslee is facing chemotherapy. I saw a photo of her in the chair of the hairdresser as she got her hair cut short. It brought back memories of mom doing the same thing. Mom is so very thankful that she did that and I know Leslee will be as well. I know some of the trials that she will be facing and I pray for her and I know that as long as she is able to laugh at least once a day – she will beat this.

But what about the pain? That’s what scares us, ultimately. Even our ultimate fear of what’s on the other side of this life has more to do with the pain of getting there than the arrival. Pain and fear are wonderful motivators. That’s what mom has been facing as the effects of chemo and radiation at the same time are starting to kick in to high gear. We can do it as long as there is no pain involved, right?
My favorite scene in Rocky III is when the ringside interviewer asks Mr. T what his prediction is for his fight against Rocky Balboa. Mr. T answers "My prediction? Pain."

The ability to harness pain depends to a great extent on your personality. Introverts are interested in avoiding pain whereas extraverts are more concerned with possible rewards. An example is the introvert likely choosing the fat-free lunch option because he wants to avoid the pain of being overweight. Whereas the extravert will probably dive in to the chocolate cake because the reward now is far more exciting than the possible pain in the future! Everything we do is based on an economic mindset. I’m not talking finances but value. We always look to maximize our pleasure and minimize our pain.

When I was in the 6th grade my Sunday school class took a climb up a mountain. Technically it’s a butte but to me it was a mountain. Square Butte stands guard to the west as you cross Little Battle, Butte and Cowboy Steele Creeks to the east. six miles past the old town of Square Butte you cross Flat Creek right before you arrive in the town of Geraldine. And that’s where I was for the 6th grade. I did not want to climb the stupid butte. But I did. I really wanted to see what the view was like from the top but getting there is what caused me duress. Anyone who knows me will smile when I say that I wasn’t exactly the roughest and toughest of kids. I preferred to stay home or drive the truck rather than actually get out and do something. But we took the climb up that stupid mountain and wouldn’t you know it, I fell at the top. I scraped my arm and wanted to cry until I saw the view.

My brother is an avid mountain climber and in 2005 he and some of his friends got to the summit of the Mt of the Holy Cross. And right before you get there, before the whole world opens up before you and you can see for miles and miles...this is what it looks like.

Lots of rocks to cut yourself on and trip over - lots of obstacles and, well, pain. But the view from the top...

This is a steep, hard, difficult climb for anyone going through cancer. Mom is battling it and my friend Leslee is just starting her battle. But we all need to remember, whether we are battling cancer or anything else in our lives –

the steeper the mountain,

the harder the climb,

but better the view

from the finishing line!

Hey Mom…and Leslee…SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

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