Chapter 33: Everything Happens

So we have made it from December to almost March. Don’t blink! In that time: My youngest, Sam, turned 13 (?!), Don had a birthday and is still feeling good, Colin earned his lifeguard certification, Olympics in South Korea, horrific mass school shooting in Florida. Coming soon: the one-year anniversary of Don’s diagnosis, our 18th wedding anniversary, Colin turns 16 (?!). As you can see, Everything Happens. I’m sure it’s the same in your life. Time goes on, everything happens, we react, respond and adjust accordingly.

My drive to the farm is about 30 minutes one way, so I have become a big fan of audible books and pod casts. Memoirs are my favorite, maybe because I get to hear how everything happens for other people? I enjoy getting a glimpse into someone’s life, thoughts and dreams that usually includes some lesson or inspiration or both. It’s a great way to spend 60 minutes behind the wheel.

My newest favorite podcast is Everything Happens For A Reason with Kate Bowler. Kate is a professor at Duke Divinity School, married with a young son. And two years ago was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Her podcast explores her approach to “finding ways of talking about hardship that were warmer, more empathetic and more authentic.” Her second book was recently released and I need to check it out, but for now I wanted to share a certain episode of the podcast.

A recent guest was Dr. Ray Barfield, a pediatric oncologist, who shared moments of his practice and how he has learned to fight even though he might lose. While in med school, he loved the pediatric ward the best. The nurses, doctors and staff treated the kids gently because they were scared and didn’t know what was going on. (He observed that adults are the same – they also need and want to be treated gently.)

They conversation covered lots of ground but a few moments that stood out for me include:

  • People are unlucky in a million ways. For no specific reasons.
  • Being diagnosed with cancer felt like discovering a secret about the universe… “I’m more porous, cracked open to everything, which is the part most people are trying to skip.”
  • When caring becomes something that breaks you it will bring you to growth and change.
  • Most of us prefer binaries: winning (my best life now!) or failing; being sick helped Kate move past binaries.
  • Saying it out loud, “This is awful” has a real healing power. Don’t be afraid to name it, to give it space.
  • When in hardship, many of us learn to live vine-to-vine, moving towards the next good outcome, which may take a few different vines to reach.

“Life is not always full of bright skies and it is not always a steady march forward. There are healthier ways of thinking about your life than just expecting endless progress,” Kate says.

It was another lesson from the road for me. Here’s to our next vine.



One thought on “Chapter 33: Everything Happens

  1. Pingback: Did you know? | Riding the Coaster on Red Forest Road

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