“You know, the way you’re dealing with your cancer is incredibly courageous,” I told my husband, trying to encourage him on a bad day.
“I don’t have a choice,” he replied, curtly.
He was tired of having two chemo treatments a week since the first week of December. He was tired of not being able to sleep due to steroids and waking up to the realization that he has cancer. He was tired of being tired.
And I was tired of not sleeping because I tend to keep one eye open to be sure he’s not having some kind of reaction to his medication. I was tired because I hurt my back trying to shovel snow because I didn’t want him doing it.
So, we both just kind of pounded our gloves together, snarled at each other and went to our separate corners.
Cancer has a way of taking the little fights out of you, because you have such a big one to face every day.
Later, after we had gotten over the urge to give each other an upper cut, I said . . .
“You know, people always say they’re courageous because they don’t have a choice. Well, that’s the point. Situations that require courage are most often thrust upon us.”
I thought about other times in my life that had required courage.
I hated those experiences – they made me nauseous, and sweaty, and I would have taken any opportunity to avoid them.
But those experiences are where I found my courage, even though they were thrust upon me. Not unlike diamonds, courage might simply be the forced revelation of the beauty within us.
Diamonds are among the rarest materials on earth . . .
A diamond is a mineral, and the hardest naturally occurring transparent crystalline substance found on earth. Amazingly, a diamond is constructed of just one element, carbon, in its purest form.
It was forged hundreds of kilometers beneath the earth’s surface, with extreme heat and pressure causing fragments of carbon to form into diamond crystals. Miraculously, diamonds were brought to the surface by a volcano.
Once the diamond rocks were blown to the surface, they were washed away by rain. And they scattered everywhere, and we began to find them and declare that they were our best friends and the jewelry business was born (I made up the last part).
Courage is formed by life’s volcanos . . .
When your life seems to be exploding into a million different pieces; when your desire to go back in time is so strong you want to become Marty McFly; when you are nauseous and sweaty and cry as much as women on “The Bachelor,” know this — you are honing your soul.
Your courage is being sharpened, and your compassion is being strengthed, and your light is being perfected.
Courage comes not in times of leisure, but in times that we would pay any amount of money to avoid. But we can’t. Because at some time in our life we need to understand exactly how big we can be. Our carbon soul reveals itself as the diamond it has always been.
So, hang in there. Your soul is getting more sparkly all the time.