People ask me all the time how I found Silver Linings during the long ride down the twisting and pot-hole-filled breast cancer road. It was simultaneously the most natural thing that I could have done and also a conscious choice and effort on a daily basis.
Prior to my diagnosis, I had always been a ½ full kind of girl. When I heard the words, “You have F-bomb breast cancer,” (I doubt that my surgeon used the word f-bomb, but I sure heard it!) my first thought was: this could have been so much worse. It was at this moment, literally from the time of my diagnosis that I became conscious of the need for optimism and began looking for (and finding!) Silver Linings.
Here’s what I know for sure about Silver Linings:
- Silver Linings come in little and big packages. From watching a hummingbird outside of my bedroom window (because I was to sick to stand) to being cancer free (after enduring the longest and most painful year of my life), Silver Linings are present. All you have to do is look for them.
- Silver Linings don’t take away the pain, but they do provide balance and perspective. Pain and sadness are important and valuable feelings that need to be processed during and after any rotten experience. The beauty of Silver Linings is that they don’t take away the rain. Rather, they provide an umbrella.
- Finding Silver Linings is a choice. Sometimes it is a really, really hard choice. For example, one day when I was in the bottomless pit of despair and found myself laying on my bathroom floor unable to get the 6 feet to my bed, I looked for a Silver Lining. I knew that one would appear. At the moment-the precise moment- I looked for the Silver Lining, my dear husband and dog came into the bathroom floor and sat with me until I could muster the strength to get to my bed.
One Silver Lining of my breast cancer experience is that I have learned that inexplicable tragedy creates an opportunity to take righteous anger and sadness and turn it into a force for doing good. No it’s not easy. I would never sugarcoat the fact that it can be hard. But what I do know for sure is that dumfounding circumstances and even outrage can be redirected and channeled into action that yields positive outcomes. This is the ultimate Silver Lining.