This morning I woke up to an email from one of my dearest friends. The subject line read: “Joined the C Club.” REALLY? F-bomb. Big time. This diagnosis is in addition to two other friends who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past 6 months. WTF is going on?!? The reality (with which I am now all too familiar) is that diagnoses happen all day every day around the world. It is omnipresent.
When I hear horrible news, I look for Silver Linings. Before I talk about the SL’s, let me be clear: FBC and any kind of FC for that matter sucks. I know that saying the word “sucks” isn’t ladylike. And generally I like to be ladylike; however, cancer is not particularly ladylike and it definitely sucks.
So, though Silver Linings can never make a cancer diagnosis ok, finding them can make it less sucky. Today, when I talked with my girlfriend about her diagnosis, we talked about the Silver Linings in her life (e.g, geographical access to great health care, strong foundation of friends, supportive family).
When I think about all of the SL’s in my life, friendship tops the list (after the HOTY and Finally Five, of course!). Friendship is something that, though I have always appreciated it, in hindsight, I know that I definitely took it for granted. (That was NOT easy to write and admit!) Until FBC, I was unaware of how powerful and positive friendship can be. No longer (Silver Lining).
When I think of friendship, it reminds me of baking. And I do love anything and everything baked. And sweet.
Now that I am acutely aware of what I eat (i.e., limiting sugar intake!), I appreciate every single bite of a super special sweet treat just in the way I appreciate every single experience with my friends.
When I mentioned my philosophical analogy to one of my girlfriends, she agreed and said that baking is inherently sharing. And sharing is, after all, a huge part of friendship. We rarely bake just for individual consumption (except after a gnarly breakup, but those calories don’t count!). We bake to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
When we bake we add a little bit of this and a little bit of that just in the way do in our relationships. Love, strength, humor, beauty, sadness and whole lotta sweetness are the ingredients for an incredible friendship.
I also believe that when we bake, we always add elements of ourselves to a recipe. For example, I have a tendency to add vanilla to nearly everything that I bake, whether the recipe calls for it or not. Every little tibit that we add to a baked delicacy makes it uniquely it our own, which therefore makes it an extra special extension of ourself.
Difficult times, whether they be a FC diagnosis or any other panoply of circumstances, force us to slow down and take in the beauty of a delicious piece of cake or the exquisiteness of a single flower.
Recently, over a table of shared sweet treats, I had the opportunity to thank a group of my friends who have supported me and my family during this tumultuous last year. I was overwhelmed with emotion because I now appreciate the extensive role my friends have had in my treatment and recovery. They are an inspirational source of hope. Always. And in all ways.
The highest adulation that I can receive is to be introduced as someone’s friend. I consider friendship an honor and a gift, and worth every effort to treasure and nurture them.
Who are the friends who make you better than you would be without them? Who is better because of you in their life?
Life is unsure, always eat your dessert first.