Through this breast cancer journey, I’m seeing how hard it is for me to ask for help. I’m getting better, but I still struggle. A part of that is a fear of rejection. That I’ll say, “Will you do this for me?” and the answer will be, “Sorry, I can’t.” And then what do I feel? That I imposed on someone when I shouldn’t have? That I don’t matter? That the person simply had a conflict and can’t help this time? I feel all of those, plus some others. I’m trying to let go of the negatives and not carry any baggage when I get the “sorry, I can’t help” answers. People have been very kind and helpful and loving to me, and I’m learning to take the “no” answers without attaching any negative emotions.
I do have a request, though. I’d like some words of encouragement every now and then. Some of my friends have been wonderful about sending cards and encouraging emails and Facebook messages and wall posts. Some have sent packages and brought gifts and food and come to visit and taken me to chemo and spent the night with me. I really appreciate all of those actions because they are direct expressions of support for me. I know lots of others follow me on Facebook or on this blog but don’t comment or send messages. A Facebook message or wall post or an email simply saying “I’m thinking of you” can make my day some days. I get discouraged. Some days I feel physically bad. Some days I feel emotionally bad. Encouragement (the root being coeur, heart – to encourage is to give heart to) helps me through those days.
If you don’t know what to say to someone who is ill or who is grieving, just saying “I’m thinking of you” helps. There are no magic words to help us heal. So you don’t have to worry about coming up with them. I also see that people don’t know whether to mention that I have cancer or not. If you know me, you know you can be pretty direct with me. You can say the word “cancer.” Sometimes I want to talk about this journey, about the treatments or surgery or the chemo side effects or how I’m feeling, and sometimes I don’t. If someone will open that door and ask how I feel – and actually wait for an answer and pay attention to that answer – I’ll either talk about the journey, or I’ll give a brief answer and move on. And then I’ll have had the opportunity to talk about what I’m going through and get to choose whether to talk about it or not. And either way, that person will have given me a gift.
I’ve also been thinking about re- words. Words that have the prefix re-. Words like resentment, rejection, rebirth, resurrection, renewal, reformation, return, require, request. All of those words of doing or being. . . again. These words have been and will be a part of this journey for me. As I repeat feelings and situations, I learn more. If you have some salient re- words and insights to go with them, please share. For years I’ve been fascinated at how many re- words are an essential part of living and are a part of liturgy and spiritual language.
For now I’ll end my pondering. I’ll continue to request help and let go of resentments. I send deep thanks to all of you who have encouraged me. When I live through my heart, everything opens to give me what I need. And I rejoice.
17 thoughts on “Asking for help. . . & re- words”
If not for facebook I would not have known about your cancer. If not for your blogs I would not have realized how very special you are as a writer and thinker. I am very poor at both so I sometimes don’t reply for fear of rejection. In fact, I’m tempted to delete this whole message, but I won’t. Please let me know if there is anything I can help you to do and if it is within my power I will do so:)
Thought my name would show up, but I don’t see it. Your friend, Becky Jeter
Thanks, Becky, for not deleting the post – and for letting me know who you are. I appreciate your offer. I enjoyed the goodie bag you dropped off for me. I’ll let you know if I need you to do something, but for now, a message of encouragement every now and then would be good for me 🙂
Your asking me for help is a gift for me. Thank you. Ask away.
Will do, Lynne, will do.
Reunited. Remember. Recall. Retroactive. Responsiblity. Render. These are just some that pop into my head right now. At the moment I dont have any specific insight to share about them. But I’ll keep thinking…. Sending you much love today, big Sis’ !!!
I post that and then see “Reply”. Another.
Hi, Kristi……I worked with Karla back in the good old B&F and Trade Data days. We had some great times together. I found your Blog thru Karla’s FaceBook page and have been ollowing your journey. I am very inspired of your strength you have. I fractured my foot over 3 months ago when I was training for a marathon. The healing process has taken longer than expected and may end up with surgery. At times I get very discourage and feel sorry for myself. After reading your Blog, I find myself being positive again because you have gone thru so much. Your strength is an inspiration to me. My re – word is “re-run” – hope to be able to run again soon. I am thinking of you and you are in my prayers.
Yes, I remember you, Nancy. Karla told me about your marathon prep fracture, but I didn’t realize you may be looking at surgery. Ha! I like rerun – and hope you’ll be doing that soon. Healing vibes to you and thank you for your prayers.
Nancy – how nice of you to follow and comment. I know Krista appreciates it, and so do I! Best wishes for re-covery… keep us posted.
I am back from the one week centering prayer retreat at St. Mary’s Sewanee and met you many times in the silence. Then, I come back and read your post and your suggestion to say “thinking of you.” Well, Darlene, on staff at SMS and massage therapist is in the middle of decisions about her breast cancer diagnosed just before Xmas. When I signed up for massage, I wondered about her working and all and how she felt ( she was also on the retreat) but guessed that she would not be taking clients if she didn’t feel like it. So, after the end of it, I hugged her and said, ” I am thinking about you.” Her big tears rolled down her face and I asked if I could lay hands on her and she desired me to do so. Then, I come back to your suggested words and know how powerful they can be. The circle of healing light and care just keeps rippling outward. Thanks for teaching us along the way.
OK, next part about words – for you and Karla, like “lift up your hearts and Janelle.” I think of recreate and how you say it what it means….the emphases changes as we mean recreation and play..and then recreate and make a new or fix what was broken? And then, remember..comes to mind from the Eucharistic prayers as we re member and bring back. Hum, a great question you asked.
As always, thanks for your honesty. Sending you a peaceful heart and a calm mind showered with loving kindness. Margaret
Does Margaret know the true Janelle story that goes with “Lift up your hearts”? Seems to me maybe she does. I can’t tell you how many Sundays I think of Mama when I hear those words….. And wow, it seems she knows the Iona “re-member” story too! But, does she know about the elbow in the side with the star-shaped bread? Maybe a story to re-tell. 😉
Yep, she sure does know the first two, Karla., but maybe not the star-shaped ginger bread.
Thank you so much, Margaret. Yes, re-member and lift up your hearts. Thank you for the Darlene story – my prayers for her.
yes, I think of y’all whenever I hear / say the words. OK, I do not know the 3rd story….am waiting!
Krista, I hope to see you before your next treatment. Pain changes everything, inside and out, form all perspectives. Sometimes the things peeps say to try to make you feel better are actually just to make us feel better to see you in such agony. The message must come at you with barbs and stickers. All that, I was really pleased to hear you can drink coffee again ( as I am here drinking my tea). Hope to see you today to give you your gift from Coleen. Love, Love
Krista, thank you for your request to remember you with written words. Like Becky, I often pass on responding because I fear my comments will sound shallow or not as eloquent as others. I think of you often and always with gratitude for our friendship and what you have taught me about gentle kindness and a desire to journey ever deeper with an open and often re-opened heart. And you continue to be first and foremost in my repeated prayers for healing and wholeness. (By now you’ve probably notice my use of re-words!!) Hope to see you in the circle this afternoon; if not, am sending lots of hugs through cyberspace! Much love, Margy
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