Fires burning hundreds of acres and toxic chemicals being dropped, all to stop the flames and desecration.  The air quality  has been poor for a week now.  For people with breathing issues, it means we are housebound, looking out the windows at the lush green trees, and flowering rose bushes. 

Finally, on Friday, I ventured outside to mail my dad his Father’s Day card.  It will be late this year, for the first time ever, but he understands.

We went to a movie.  It had been a rough day, but I was determined to get out and do something.  However, after being inside for a week, I now realized how much strength I have lost.  Walking into the theater, even from the handicapped spot was a challenge.  Climbing the stairs to our favorite spot nearly did me in.  I am still learning about this illness and the toll it continues to take.   In some ways it is like a story, one that will soon change, and I will be whole again.  I attempt to do things without considering my limited state, as in going up many stairs to our favorite seats, and find myself so surprised at losing my breath.  It is not only disconcerting, it is physically painful.

When the movie was over, I was relieved to leave and head home where I felt safe.   My needs can be met rather easily in my home, and I limit my challenges, only going upstairs when it is absolutely necessary.  In the comfort of my chair, a good television show can capture my mind for a while, and I am lost in the story, forgetting for a brief while that I am very, very sick.

I have lost my spiritual center lately, which is very painful emotionally.  I know what I need to do to return to that place of inner peace, but I am finding it particularly difficult.  My Hospice social worker comes tomorrow.  She is a gifted counselor.  She knows when to speak and when to listen.  She validates my feelings of despair.  One of the major issues I have been dealing with is how to forgive, and still honor my desire to eliminate connection with some people who have hurt me deeply in the past.

When an individual so clearly intends to inflict pain, over and over, and yet suddenly, because I am dying, they decide to reconnect.  It is a dilemma, but one I feel confident in my choice to value myself and my own feelings, particularly now.

I find that most of us are challenged in the way we deal with forgiveness.  Especially, when an individual does not ask for forgiveness, and acts as if they have done nothing to hurt us.  And so, I want to share with you, dear readers, how I have come to believe in the way I choose to deal with it.

My dear friend Denny gave me this advice.  Offer a prayer for this person, each time I think of them.  There is no need to reconnect because that is the last thing I want.  This time, I will put myself first.  I will protect myself.  That individual knows what they have done, and why they did what they did.  I can pray for them, and let go of all negative feelings toward them, for they have no power over me.  I am free.  I am free.

Perhaps most important in dealing with such a dilemma is to keep one’s center, and not wish the person harm, or revenge in any form.  As I write these words, I feel God’s presence, and I am experiencing such peace.

And when forgiveness is asked for and we can give it, how beautiful it is.  I have experienced this, as well.  To acknowledge my own poor choices which hurt someone, and feel so blessed at receiving reconciliation.  My cup runneth over with love and peace.

You may ask yourself how you deal with forgiveness.  To withhold it, is to give the person power over you, and the pain caused is as fresh as morning dew.  But to choose to let go, forgive, and move on is too beautiful for words.  And, to clarify, one can forgive in one’s heart, let go, without welcoming that person back into your world.

As I deal with my terminal illness, it is so important to me to live in the way God intended.  To be loving, and caring until the end.  That is my desire and I shall choose to live this way each day that is given to me.  I am blessed in countless ways.  I have a wonderful husband who cares for me in so many ways, that I never dreamed I would need.  A loving daughter and son, and their spouses all bless my life.  My Daily family, children and their spouses, the most incredible sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law and their children all add to the gratitude I have for them.  And six beautiful grandchildren who love me, bring me so much joy, it is overwhelming.

I live in gratitude for more love than I have ever known before.   And, my friends, that realization brings me the inner peace I yearn for.   For love is what it is all about.  God has blessed me with an abundance of love.  And, so it is.