Change is good.
I’ve always said that. Some people resist change. Others respond to the type of change. Those of you who know me…who really know me…are aware that I embrace change: the good the bad, and the ugly. Change, no matter what kind, helps us grow as individuals and that is why change is good. Who wants to be stagnant? Who wants to remain the same person as they were ten, twenty—even thirty or forty!—years ago?
Two years ago, my husband kept telling me to make an appointment with the doctor because of this horrible pain in my breast. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever,” was my typical response. Too much to do, I thought to myself. I’ll get to it when I get to it.
I finally got to it on May 31st. And what a change that was! Cancer. At 44 years old (yes, I fess up to my age).
Cancer puts a new spin on your life. I tried to offset the fear of others and took on their burdens. Fretting and crying about my cancer wasn’t going to make it go away, right? And, in all reality, I embraced all of those changes: being fired from my job, losing my breasts, losing my hair, losing one of my new breasts, getting an infection that almost killed me, needing a blood transaction (yucky), losing my other new breast…you get the picture.
There is a psychological shift that happens to someone who goes through this. People forget what you have gone through and continue with their lives just as they expect you to continue with yours.
But I’m not the same person as I was two years ago.
One of my favorite Greek philosophers, Heraclitus (535BC-475BC) is renowned for stating that “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”
Think about that.
Life is just like that river, constantly moving so nothing remains the same.
Cancer was a rock in my river and, when I stepped onto it, my foot slipping just a little on the mossy slime that covered it, the river changed. And with it, I did, too.
As a wise person told me, “You operate on a different wave length now. It might be that other people aren’t on the same wave length as you are anymore.”
True. Quite true.
For starters, I live every day with the fear that a new ache in my hip is bone cancer, the pain in my chest wall is a new tumor, a sore throat is cancer from radiation, or my poor breathing is a sign of the progression of my radiation-induced pneumonitis into something worse…and deadly. That’s a lot to hang over anyone’s head and I try to put it into a little box, lock it, and shove it to the far recesses of my mind.
However, that fear has made me look at life with new, fresh eyes.
Opportunities for living, really living and enjoying life, surround us. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone. Never in a million, billion, trillion years would anyone have been able to convince me that I’d not only take dancing lessons and perform at a cancer event, but also I’d COMPETE in Pro-Am competitions. I didn’t even LIKE to dance. Now? I really, really love it. Thank you, Fred Astaire Family in Morristown!
Another change? My writing. Once again, I’ve stepped into fresh water that flows down that proverbial river. With my Amish Classics Series by Realms/Charisma House and my books published by Waterfall Press/Brilliance Publishing, I have truly pushed myself to new levels, from both new storylines and new literary styles of writing. And, of course, my shift into Young Adult books through the voice of my daughter, Cat—she’s the greatest character to write about, let me tell you!
Finally, I have done a lot of self-examination—really analyzing who I am as a person. Cancer changed me, opening my eyes to a lot of things that, previously, I either ignored or simply didn’t see. Some of the things I could accept; others I could not. And that’s the shift in the river. People might not be able to adapt to the change in you. Since the river is constantly changing, we have to accept that, when we change, others change in response.
Next month, An Empty Cup is releasing from Waterfall Press. You will meet Rosanna, a different character than you usually meet in Amish fiction books. She’s middle-aged, not a young, unmarried Amish girl. Rosanna is a pleaser, constantly trying to keep people happy to the point that she becomes undervalued in many aspects of her life. Her interactions with friends, family, and a not so nice neighborhood demonstrate how external influences can simply wear down a person. And with that, she changes. Like me, Rosanna stepped outside of her comfort zone and found herself standing in the middle of a river, the water rushing passed her.
I do believe that readers will relate to Rosanna, whether you identify a small piece of yourself in her character or know someone like her. And I hope that the book will leave you changed.
Because change is good.