Hope.

On December 31, 2020 I posted these words with the attached photos on Instagram/Facebook:

A year that knocked the wind out of my sails before the calendar even turned to March. Before COVID. Before social unrest. Before ridiculous elections.

A year like this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when trying to figure out how to forge on after January/February, but God answered prayers through it (perhaps not how I hoped or wanted, but they were clear answers and for that I’m thankful).

As the world and life became an unthinkable struggle for many, disappointment, loneliness and frustration easily could have sunk me, but I somehow found myself experiencing an odd, unexpected, welcomed peace.

There’s something uniquely beautiful about being forged in the fire, friends. Never lose sight of that when the flames are roaring and rising. Let them shape and grow you.

With that, I’m unapologetically ending this year with sincere joy, extreme gratitude and abundant hope! Cheers to being wrecked and renewed. Revival’s in the air…


Here I am one year later, and I quite literally could do a *COPY / PASTE* without changing many of the details. When I penned those words I had no idea cancer was just four months ahead of me, yet the struggles, hurt and challenges of 2020 – before cancer – were equally real and hard.

On more occasions than I can count since being diagnosed people have shared with me the storm they are currently navigating, and without fail they always end with, “…but it’s not cancer. It’s nowhere near what you have been through.”

Wrong.

Is cancer hard? Yes. Is it one of the hardest thing I will likely ever go through? Yes. Does it make anyone else’s current battles any less than? Absolutely not.

In my current season I navigate the most interesting dynamic of people feeling as though their tough stuff isn’t as tough as mine + hesitating to tell me about their celebratory moments in life because they know I’ve been in the battle of my life.

Ironically, I quite often stifle my own celebrations in this fight, because I have so much guilt knowing there are people reading my words who have lost loved ones to cancer. There are other women navigating a fresh diagnosis, and I am so intensely aware of that hell. It doesn’t feel fair to celebrate when I know others are carrying so much hurt due to the same horrific disease.

It’s hard – both my hard and your hard.

“There is a temptation to temper your joy amidst other’s pain. Like {in pictures I post}, I want to hide the joy so as to spare others from feeling their own despair in contrast. And while that seems the nice thing to do, we actually hinder the human experience of small, tender, fragile hope. {I am finally feeling joy and like I can breathe again, but it came after many very grievous moments.} I say this, I hope, as a beacon of light for those in the darkest times. Your day {of joy and being able to breathe again} will arrive. Watching others feel joy in your sadness is your deepest being saying, ‘when will it be my turn?’ And even that question is a small seed of hope. I don’t know what’s ahead, I only know what I’ve been through. And it’s enough to carry me through more dark times.” – borrowed from the amazing Jami Nato, my personal edits in { }

Beyond cancer implications following me with the calendar turn, I do not know what 2022 holds and either do you as you’re reading this blog post. I do however hope whatever the year to come holds for you and me that it’s beautifully woven with genuine joy and laughter. And I hope you do not compare your storms and celebrations to others. Instead, dig deep for the hope in all of it.

As one of my favorite songs says:

It’s been the kind of year I’d be fine if I forgot,
But I’ll never forget it as long as I live…
The wildest menagerie of unfortunate crazy things and now it’s all over.
So raise up your glass
Here’s to brand new beginnings…
Cause tomorrow will bring us a new morning sun.
My friends, I believe the best is yet to come.
…and I couldn’t tell you what comes next,
But I do know that we’ll never ever be standing here again.


As I wrap up 2022, I’ll leave you with these incredible images from my dear friend Becca. If you know what transpired on my final day of radiation (after 21 days of showing up every.single.day Monday – Friday for treatment) you know I expected to walk out to the parking lot to see only my mom and dad, because COVID caused so much of my journey inside the Cancer Center walls to be done solo. But there was this waiting for me just outside the doors. These people. My sister and brother in law who had driven up from Alabama unknowingly, fellow breast cancer warrior Cassie, friends, small group gals, coworkers, kiddos who were skipping school to celebrate – my community, my tribe. They all carried me this year when I swore I couldn’t possibly take another step on my own. Despite all the hard, ugly, painful moments I found strength, laugher and joy because of these people. I am forever grateful.

I tear up every time I look through these photos, because I see the joy and celebration on every single person’s face. We were all impacted by my diagnosis.

May these pictures be your hope as you navigate the storm you are in and/or the ones yet to come your way. There’s beauty in it all if you let yourself see it.

One thought on “Hope.

  1. Sarah,
    This is just the most incredible, awesome story from your journey ever!!!!!!!
    What a joyful day. It brought tears to my eyes.
    May your 2022 have many moments of joy, love & thankfulness.

    In friendship,

    Barb

    Like

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