Last year I sat and watched the fireworks light up the night sky. I had just received the shocking news that I had cancer, and I knew as I sat there, that the next day I would be having surgery to remove the tumor. Cancer was not something I ever thought I’d have to become intimately familiar with. It didn’t seem fair, and I felt like my future had been snatched away from me. Those fireworks were fear and anger, bittersweet longing, for time to turn back so I could have a do-over and give myself a different outcome.
This year, there were no fireworks due to the wildfires in Arizona. But I felt them. Deep down in my soul, there were colorful explosions and whirling sparklers. I am cancer free. Words I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to say at this time last year now bubble up on my lips with increasing frequency, and with them, my smile is never far behind. God has been so good to me. He has healed me, given me strength, and walked beside me on every step of this difficult journey. Who knew that the toughest year of my life could also be one of the most rewarding? I’ve learned that laughter is precious, that life is too important to take for granted, that dreams, no matter how small, are worth pursuing, and that above all, love makes everything so much sweeter.
On July 4th, one day out of the year, America stops to celebrate the country’s independence. And so it goes for me, one day out of the year, in the quiet of my heart, as I sit and watch the fireworks light up the night, I’ll be celebrating an independence of a different kind.
One year and counting…