A Grateful Heart
Helps Create a Happy Life, No Matter the Circumstances
article by Cindy G. Foust
Happy fall y’all (I wait all year for September to be able to say that little catchy fun phrase that really probably kind of makes fun of us southerners). But I digress. As usual. I hope this month’s column finds each of you happy and healthy and enjoying this crisp fall air that we are enjoying. That’s a total lie. It’s actually hot as blue blazes (whoever that is), humid and muggy. Will we ever see any cool fall air? I actually walked though campus this afternoon trying to trim up for my son’s upcoming nuptials (more on that a bit later) and nearly fainted at the crosswalk. Literally thought I was going to have to get a co-worker to come pick me up, but alas, some of our students drove by hanging out their window cheering me on, like I was in the Tour de France for geriatrics, so I couldn’t let them down and even acted like I was jogging for a minute. Wait. Not Tour de France, that’s a bicycle race, but the summer Olympics in track and field. Anyway, the point is I have fans. And they were cheering me on, and boy, do I need some cheering friends, to like really cheer me up.
My heart is in a heavy place, readers, like many of us get sometimes, and I’m trying to fight my way out of it. It’s not me, no I am in a very good place medically speaking and feeling better than I have in years. Well, except for menopause. Wait. I think this is still a children/family column so nobody out there probably really cares about my hot flashes and mood swings, right? Or the fact that I might have to get an apartment so my family will still be my family. I think I’ve said this in previous columns but nobody out there is listening and trying to help this poor writer out.
I mean, I’ve been bringing these monthly tomes (I love using big words that I have to look up while I write the column) for nearly 10 years (I figure I need to start working on Cassie now if I want a really good 10 year anniversary gift since she has essentially ignored my anniversary requests for the last who knows how many years) and I can tell you I am the first one who is quick to share my life.
Sometimes, much to the chagrin of my family, there’s too much sharing. But I can’t help it, readers, I am an open book and I have such an exciting and titillating life that I want to share it with the world. Except I really don’t, I am really quite boring but I am a pretty good storyteller because I can sometimes google big words to make my story really good. And this month’s story?
No big words or funny tales because this month’s story has got this writer in a blue kind of way. You see, I’ve got a good friend who in fact is struggling with her health, like really struggling, and my heart is conflicted about what to pray for.
First and foremost, I hate cancer. There, I said it. I do. I hate it so much and just about the time I make peace for how it’s affected my life, then BAM…it strikes again. I mean, let’s face it, we’ve probably all been affected by the C word (I don’t even want to give it the benefit of typing it out). Right? Primarily because it doesn’t discriminate and no one is immune to the possible havoc it can bring to someone’s life in a matter of seconds.
To better illustrate this, you simply have to visit a hospital like MD Anderson to know that there is no one certain thing that distinguishes a cancer patient from another. Nothing. And let me tell you, a visit to MD Anderson is a heavy visit. At any time. For any reason. I’ve been both the patient and the caregiver and either way it (rhymes with ducks). It does, readers and last month, I was all in my feelings, worried about routine tests that are put in place to just keep me safe and well, and I was literally having anxiety to the point my heart was racing out of my chest. And then it happened.
That humbling, in your face kind of moment that takes your breath more than your heart racing out of its mind, that happens in flash, and if you miss it, if you are so wrapped up in your own self-pity that you miss it, then, well, it’s all on you. For me, it came when I am standing in front of MD with my husband waiting on our valet. As I said, I am near tears… worry is creeping in and has its grip on me. About that time, this young attractive guy comes flying out of the hospital, and he has one leg, he’s on crutches and has no hair. He “scoots” by me, gives me a megawatt smile, a big wink and makes his way to his car, like he’s on the red carpet for the Oscars. He then promptly “jumps” behind the wheel and takes off like it’s a motor speedway.
I wish I could insert a cricket emoji right here. Maybe you had to be there, but for me, I shifted. I shifted in a way that is palpable, that’s tangible. If my new friend can breeze by me with all the ease and confidence in the world, with one leg and no hair, then I, Cindy G. Foust, can DRY IT UP (I want to upper case those words so bad but the editor in me won’t let me, but Meagan changed it for me in the 25th hour), shut it up and get moving.
I can get moving in a way that God has blessed me to be able to do. I can get in my own car and go to dinner with my husband of nearly 27 years (thank you Jesus he likes me enough to stick around during menopause central) or the grocery store (yes, we are total culinary nerds and visit grocery stores in every city we visit) or just go back to our room to watch a movie. I can get back to my beloved hometown, to my healthy children, to my family, my friends, and my job(s) that I love so much.
I can because God, good doctors and medicine made that way for me… made that possible. And why doesn’t everyone get that way? I wish I had the answer to that readers, I wish I could understand or know the “why” to that question. I understand as well as anyone that life is truly a gift, a fleeting beautiful gift that touches each of us at different ages.
My Sammy, my baby, who would have been 22 this week, only had two years. It wasn’t cancer, but the “why” is still the same. As I write this column, my dear childhood friend is facing the end of hers. I’ve watched her suffer so, in my heart can barely take it and I just don’t know what to pray for. Except I really do. I pray for peace and comfort for her transition. And for her family who love her so and will be here without her. Because that’s a really hard place to be. I’m still there, actually, after 20 years.
I know, readers, this has been a heavy column, but I won’t apologize. Instead I would remind you to take it on like our friend at MD Anderson… no matter what you might be struggling with, take it on with fervor and passion and gratitude. It’s been 10 long years since I started this column so if you’ve been with me a minute, you know I’m prone to talk about gratitude. But it’s real friends, and a grateful heart helps create a happy life, no matter what you might be facing. Get you an attitude of gratitude with ole’ Cindy Foust and savor the days, the gift of the life we are so privileged to live.
Cindy G. Foust is a wife, mom, author and blogger. You can find her blog at the alphabetmom.com for weekly columns about home life, parenting, small business stories and insight with a smidgen of literacy. Give her a like or follow on Facebook and Instagram.