Grounding for the New Year
article by Cindy G. Foust
Happy New Year readers on what is the anniversary of my 8th year as a monthly feature writer for this wonderful magazine. That’s right, let me do the math for you, that’s approximately 96 columns full of wisdom that ranged from backyard camping to that one time when I biked the Golden Gate Bridge (and almost died). And almost got a divorce. For the second time in my marriage. But I’m not here to rehash the old because in my opinion, there has never been a better time to be “in” with the new. You with me? That’s right, before this month’s magazine even hits the driveway, most of us will be wishing 2020 the most robust good-bye we can muster.
It’s an interesting vibe we are seeing, if you ask me, because while we have so many people who are anxious to rid the year “adios,” we have just as many people who are looking for a fresh start and they are doing it with such optimism that it actually startled this writer a few days ago when I was reading this article about resolutions.
I mean, how could that writer be so optimistic and positive when we have all had the year we have had? But there it was, in black and white, one lone person who is preparing to embrace the new year with the same gusto that she did waaaaaayyyyy (I am also the copy editor of this magazine so I can allow for this obviously but appropriately misspelled word), back in January, 2020. The article had me rubbing my chin for sure, because I for one, have had some personal struggles this year and well, let’s just say, my optimism and positivity have taken a real hit in the days of late.
If you read my column readers, you know I have always tried to write with a sort of vulnerable transparency about my life, even when it’s not a very flattering slant. In keeping with that philosophy, I feel like it’s time to share that I have been struggling through a medical crisis for the past four months, that if I’m honest, feels like I’ve been with Moses and wandering through the wilderness for 40 years. Because when it’s happening to you, right, time absolutely slows to a crawl and you find yourself aimlessly floating through your days just wanting some answers.
For me, those answers came a few months ago when I found out that my breast cancer had recurred. It’s hard to write that, friends, and I even at this point find myself reading and re-reading the words. But here’s the story and how I am going to try and tie this column to starting the new year off with optimism.
Because you see, my journey carried me to a hospital in Houston, a hospital that I have sadly been to before with other family members, and a hospital that was able to pinpoint exactly what was wrong with me.
Before anyone writes me off to hospice, I want to be clear that I am doing perfectly fine. For you see, readers, I was able to finally determine what my diagnosis was and there is a plethora of treatment options, for which I am grateful. I’m not going to lie to you one bit and tell you that those that live in my intimate tribe weren’t ready to move to Montana where they probably have limited cell coverage because I had to be coddled and assured and reassured and handled on a daily basis. On top of that, we are literally living in the worst of times, when your husband or family members can’t be with you when you are trying to get your diagnosis.
When Scott dropped me at the hospital door, I literally felt like I had been dropped at the door of the mall and someone forgot to come pick me up. The worst visit, and this isn’t for shock value or a play for your sympathy, but the absolute worst visit was the one where I was getting my actual diagnosis and I had to ride that elevator to my appointment alone. I remember feeling like I couldn’t feel my legs… like I was just standing in space, and my blood pressure was shooting out of my head and I just began praying, like my dearest friend, Lori French, encouraged me to do, but I began praying for God to literally carry me off that elevator to get to my doctor’s office. And when I stepped off that elevator, and the sun was shining through this big window, there was a lady sitting in a wheelchair waiting to get on. She was frail and bald and all the things that I wasn’t. And we made eye contact. And in that moment, when tears had been streaming down my face and my legs felt as if they were going to have to crawl to get me to my doctor, I was humbled to my core.
As I made eye contact with this precious soul, I was suddenly reminded that I had the ability to walk my able-bodied self to my appointment. I was reminded that I have treatment options, that are going to get me well. I was reminded that no matter what treatment that I might have to go through, I have a support system and a will of steel and I was going to be okay. And most importantly, I have a God that will see me through this, in what is yet another chapter in the life of Edith Bunker meets Elle Mae. I’ll tell you readers, I dried it up and sucked it up and walked through those doors to meet my doctor and his news. And since that time, even though some days might have been a little stressful, that one chance encounter reframed the way I am approaching my treatment.
For you see readers, there are always, always people who don’t have the same hope, the same possible outcomes or the same opportunities that we have. It sounds very cliché, but there’s always someone worse off than we are. Right?
In that one instant, when it felt like my life was flashing before my eyes, my life actually did flash before my eyes and I began to see things a little more clearly. In what has seemed like an impossible year, with challenge after face mask after sickness after bad news after turmoil after worse news I realized that I needed to just stop with the stop. That doesn’t make sense but it does to me because what I needed most at that very moment of my life, was provided to me in an instant. And I stopped.
The grounding I needed happened through this chance encounter and from that moment until this very day, just a few short weeks before this tumultuous, uncertain year comes to a close, I know I’m going to be okay. And so are you readers, so are you. Whatever it is you are facing in your life, whatever uncertainty lies ahead, not just for me, but for all of us, we are going to be okay. And guess what, it’s time to let go, to shed the skin of 2020 if you would and get ready to embrace the new one coming in.
Because like it or not, it’s here and we have a few choices. We can mullygrub (thanks Bitsy) and complain and worry and stay bogged down, or we can grit our teeth, put our head down and get ready to take it on. In case you are wondering, that’s what I’m doing, that’s what I’m encouraging my kids to do (who have stayed scared to death for over half this year but that’s another column for another day) and that’s what I’m encouraging you to do.
This life we are gifted might get a little stressed out, it might be a little uncertain, it’s definitely flawed on a lot of days but it’s truly a gift. So don’t sit around worrying over what may or may not be coming or what may or may not go wrong, but instead, sit down and do what you always do… write your goals, make your plans and put the worrying in the rearview mirror. Because, readers, that’s what I’m doing and in a few weeks, my “saga” will prayerfully be in my rearview mirror for good.
I apologize for being a little all over the place this month, but give me a little grace on that one and know that I’ll be updating you on my progress, which I expect to be nothing but great. And speaking of great, I hope for you and your family not only a Happy New Year but a great new year…with a returned sense of normalcy and resolve that you’ve always had, even if it got clouded for a short time.
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.