In spite of negative news on a daily basis, I believe in keeping a positive attitude. My optimism does not come from belief that I will escape adversity. The next natural disaster may touch me, I may get bad news from my doctor, or be involved in a major accident. Still, I look forward to each new day as an adventure.
If I had to depend solely on my own ability or resources, my hope for joy on the journey of life would crumble. I need something bigger than myself to hold onto. My faith in God is the anchor that holds me steady. My trust is well placed because God himself made me a promise: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you” (Isaiah 41:10).
Until ten years ago, my faith had not been put to the test. Anyone can be optimistic during good times. My test came in the form of breast cancer. I didn’t jump up and down with joy at the news, but I didn’t freak out either. For me, this was an opportunity to put my faith to work. In the recovery room following surgery, the attending nurse said, “Not many people wake up with a smile on their face.”
After surgery, however, I soon learned that a quick-fix would not cut it for me. Because of the size of the tumor and the fact that cancer had already spread to the lymph nodes, I was diagnosed with Stage III advanced cancer. Treatment would require heavy doses of chemotherapy and extensive radiation.
The information the doctor gave me on chemotherapy wasn’t written by a positive thinker. It was up to me to put an optimistic spin on a worst case scenario. Chemo was a mixture of chemicals that could cure me and chemicals that could kill me. I had no way of sorting the good from the bad but, during every infusion, I trusted God to perform a chemical miracle.
My eight-month regimen of treatment produced only minimal side effects. Medical science in general and my doctors in particular deserve much of the credit for my exceptional experience with breast cancer, but I believe my faith was also a strong contributing factor.
Four years ago, I lost my husband of nearly forty years. There’s no way around it. Separation hurts but, again, faith made the difference. Because my husband shared my faith, I expect to see him again. Without the hope of life beyond the grave, nothing could soothe the pain of bereavement. With the promise of heaven, my heart can keep on singing no matter what befalls me on my journey of life.