Friday, May 29, 2009

Regarding Blogging by Linda Brumley

An old friend in another city called me last week to say she’d read my blog. It was the first blog I’ve ever written. I felt suddenly uncomfortable with such widespread self-exposure. I found this unease floating in and out of my mind all day long. That night, embarrassment settled in more firmly and I turned on my pillow to tell Ron that I regretted putting myself in the spotlight. I hated the thought that perhaps the blog had been self-centered and I offered him the chance to join me in self reproach by reminding him that I had read it to him and had sought his advice before posting it.

In a fashion I’ve come to depend on for the last 48 years he said: “That blog wasn’t about you. It was about helping others with your vulnerability. Turn over and go to sleep.” Ron: ever dependable to gather in the fragments of my sanity and bind them up with logic for another day/hour/whatever. I settled in for the night pondering whether to think of myself as an egotistical altruist or an altruistic egotist.

Altruism has to be among the most challenging qualities we’re called to as followers of Jesus. Introducing a concise summary of Jesus’ other-centered life the apostle Paul admonishes us: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

We’re not asked to live out a sort of self-deprived stoicism in disregard of our own interests as if that might somehow benefit humanity. Rather, in recognizing our own needs, we become better able to understand the practical and emotional needs of others. We gain a keener sense of empathy with our fellowmen as we navigate our way through the struggles of our own lives. We are better equipped to “…do to others what you would have them do to you….” (Matthew 7:12) And if we approach life’s circumstances alert to the lessons that will teach us to lend an ear, lend a hand, and offer an appropriately consoling word, we better understand the beauty of the way Jesus approached his humanity:

“For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way…. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:17, 18).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Visit to San Diego by Linda Brumley

I’m at my daughter’s house in San Diego today on a trip that was planned months ago, and that I for sure would not have taken if I’d had a crystal ball. A week ago today, I learned from a surgeon at UW medical center that tissue he’s removed and sent in for biopsy revealed that I have breast cancer--again. I’m tired and I’m sore and maybe a little out of whack emotionally, but in no way in despair or panic mode.

People are kind and concerned and solicitous of my well being and I’m grateful. They tell me that I am in their prayers and this is more than reassuring, it’s a joy. It’s amazing to me thinking of my name being mentioned to God multiple times a day from so many sources--amazing!

Many urge me toward optimism, but I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I feel neutral--very still inside, very trusting that God is on the case and he’s got tomorrow figured out. I only know about today.

It’s sunny and beautiful here. I have a comfortable bed, assurance of three good meals that I don’t even have to cook, people to delight in and laugh with, family and friends who are on the same page with me spiritually.

I dread another surgery and I think that’s normal. I hate the thought of more chemo, but I can ride that wave (however grumpily--you can pray about that!), but I think I’ve finally learned to live one day at a time through a crisis. I love that Jesus explained to us that each day has enough trouble of its own! (Matthew 6:34) He so fully understands our humanity and the limitations of how much we can cope with effectively. He gets it that we are made of dust and I’m extremely relieved.

So today, I’m with my daughter and her great husband and their adorable, fascinating, talented, healthy kids. And right this minute, I’m home alone with their very cute, and equally stupid puff-ball of a dog, Ace (no offense intended, but I could tell you stories). He is sitting at my feet gazing up at me with these enormous brown eyes that look for all the world as if he’s sympathetically aware of my diagnosis. And until his playmates get home from school, he seems to have single-handedly embraced the task of filling my world with compassion. It makes me giggle. It’s a very good day.