In April 2008, I learned immediately how life changes instantaneously with the snap of a finger. My tranquil life was interrupted in an unexpected, indescribable way when I felt a piercing pain in my left breast. Suddenly, I began the long twisting ride through the town of Cancerville.
I’ve always been a positive and half-full kind of girl. When I was diagnosed, my first thought was: This could have been 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) Shining Moments while always wearing my mother’s diamond stud earrings to help me find my courage.
Here’s what I know for sure about Shining Moments:
They come in pocket-sized and immense packages. From watching a red-breasted robin outside of my bedroom window (because I was too sick to stand) to being cancer-free (after enduring the lengthiest and most excruciating year of my life), Shining Moments are present. All you have to do is look for them and learn to be present every single day.
Shining Moments don’t take away the discomfort and pain, but they do provide a sense of balance and perspective on life. Pain, anguish, and unhappiness are valid and significant feelings that need to be managed during and after any awful experience. The beauty of Shining Moments is that they don’t take away the storm. Rather, they provide an umbrella or raincoat.
Finding Shining Moments is a choice. Sometimes it may not be so optimal, instead it could be a very difficult alternative. For example, one day I was in the boundless pit of despondency and found myself laying on my cold tile bathroom floor unable to get to my bedroom (located next to the bathroom), I looked for a Shining Moment. I just knew that one would appear. At the exact instant I looked for the Shining Moment, my two cats came into the bathroom and cuddled with me until I could gather the strength to get to my bed.
One Shining Moment of my breast cancer experience is that I have learned that incomprehensible tragedy generates an opportunity to take righteous anger and melancholy and turn it into a power for doing good. Is it easy? No way. I would never sugarcoat the fact that it can be tough, challenging, and sometimes just plain taxing. But what I do know for sure is that dumbfounding situations and even anger can be redirected, conveyed, and guided into action that yields encouraging outcomes. This is the ultimate Shining Moment.