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Who Will Catch You When You Fall?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

©Brenda Coffee. All rights reserved.

Most of my adult life has been spent as an adrenaline junkie, searching for experiences that pushed me to the edge of my ability to cope and survive. Today, adventure travel is commonplace, but many of my trips were well before Indiana Jones became a household name. How crazy is it to deliberately seek out abandoned mine shafts, high in the remote Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico, then enter them in search of minerals and crystals, armed with nothing more than a couple of kerosene lanterns and some rock hammers? No ropes, no water, plus we didn’t even drop breadcrumbs so we could find our way out! That wasn’t crazy. That was just plain stupid, as in this gene pool doesn’t deserve to survive.

Or how crazy is it to go to San Cristóbal de las Casas, high in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico, during the early days of the Mexican government’s murderous violence against the indigenous Indians, and spend Christmas Eve, 1985, navigating narrow rocky roads in the dark as gun fire erupts all around you, only to discover in front of and behind you, the Mexican Army has set fire to the mountains and you’re wondering if you can make it to the next switchback before the fire jumps the road and engulfs your only way out? <PREVIEWEND>I know… I know… It was beyond stupid, right, Turner? The really stupid part came later though, didn’t it?... Breathe…

You’d think I would have learned from some of these experiences and gathered a little wisdom along the way. Maybe switched to a nice beach somewhere; ordered a couple of Piña Coladas, read a good book... But no-o-o-o! It took marrying James Coffee and his overwhelming desire to do what’s right for his family, to protect them from the bad guys and to make me realize how lucky I was to have survived my former lifestyle that gave me the real survivorship tools I needed. As I look back on my life, it’s not the stupid stuff I’ve done, and somehow managed to survive, that scares me. It’s what if I’d never met James?

James has saved me in every way that counts: mentally, physically and emotionally. His love for me is inscribed on a tablet in my heart. But most of all, without saying a word about God, the way James lives his life made me realize I was missing a giant piece of the puzzle. The more I let go and trusted James, the more I realized I needed to trust in God as well. In Superman, when Lois Lane falls from the Daily Planet building, Superman swoops in from seemingly nowhere and catches her in his arms. “I’ve got you,” Superman says. Not totally reassured, Lois replies, “Who’s got you?” Because of James, I now realize God has always had us both.

That which influences us most shapes our perspective, and because of God, James and breast cancer, I’m no longer the same person I used to be. I’ve gained perspective and a smidgeon of wisdom, albeit not nearly enough, about life and the things that matter most. But most importantly, I’ve learned to trust in God.

Being diagnosed with a serious illness is kind of like when Lois Lane fell off the Daily Planet building. Doctors and surgeons may be there with an answer for you, but how do you know it’s the right answer? You may feel the need to get a second, or a third opinion, but eventually you need to let go and let God catch you. Like a little child who knows how dependent they are on their parent, God is our Father. In times of trouble, many of us are compelled to turn to Him for guidance and direction, only to drop Him when the storm stops. If you're one of those who only calls on God during hard times, what if you talk to Him on the other days as well? "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; and in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5.


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Previous Comments
Anonymous commented on 06-Dec-2010 04:18 PM
Brenda,
I had no idea you were so daring! I have always tended to be more of a "play it safe" kind of gal. James sounds like a wonderful husband and friend. You and I are both lucky in that area. Cancer has made me more appreciative of my spouse, that's for sure. Nothing compares with having someone lovingly and willingly stand by you during the "storms" of your life and cancer is one heck of a "storm." Faith is a big help as well. Also, I love the comparison of cancer feeling like Lois Lane falling off the Daily Planet Building. That's how I felt! I'm learning to trust God and others to catch me when I fall.
Anonymous commented on 07-Dec-2010 05:43 AM
My dearest Brenda, my tears are flowing. My tears are joy for you and sadness for myself. Thankfully, I am alone, listening to beautiful Christmas music - The Gift, Susan Boyle's latest album.
I have learned that love begins with love of self and I am genuinely happy for you and James, knowing that you have found complete love. You have also put your trust in the Lord God 'Let go and let God'
You have, very quickly, become such an important part of my life sweet lady.
It seems I am not leading an 'authentic' life and that will have to change. I must find my love and pursue it with passion.
I am so glad you were 'divinely protected and remained safe with your 'risk taking' activities. Love and gratitude xo
Anonymous commented on 07-Dec-2010 02:22 PM
Oh Nancy! You have no idea the crazy life I've led! For 25 years, I went to some remote part of the world, at least once a month. Places where they didn't speak English, you couldn't order a cheeseburger and you didn't see anyone who looked like you. I searched for minerals and crystals, geodes and pre-Columbian artifacts. If I wasn't traveling to these places, I was doing research at the University's library, searching for unexcavated ruins or likely places that might yield truncated amethyst & quartz crystals. A couple of those trips, I went alone & am still not sure why I'm here to tell the tale. Actually, I am sure: It was by God's grace that I got out of those situations alive. He caught me when I fell. Nancy, you and I are blessed to have such great husbands as well as our faith. We have so many who are there to catch us. XOXOXO, Brenda
Anonymous commented on 07-Dec-2010 03:56 PM
Darling Cheryl, Wish I were there with you. We could twirl around the room, dancing like little girls, caught up only in the moment of being ballerinas. No illness, no worries, no tomorrows. Just girlfriends having fun. Again, you're in my prayers. Love, Brenda
Anonymous commented on 07-Dec-2010 04:29 PM
LOVED the tribute of love & hugs to your James…..you are one amazing woman….

Bonnie
Anonymous commented on 07-Dec-2010 04:34 PM
Bonnie, How could I not? He's the amazing one. XOXOXO, Brenda
Anonymous commented on 07-Dec-2010 04:35 PM
Quite a statement- It seems James is equally as lucky!!
Anonymous commented on 07-Dec-2010 05:41 PM
Yes We have all done some insane things in life!! but so glad you have James and God in your life... and you a wonderfu writer too.!!!!! Thank you for yet another wonderful blog... xxxxx Merry
Anonymous commented on 07-Dec-2010 06:28 PM
Hi Merry,
How was your first day back at the gym? What kind of regimen do you have planned, and do you have any help like a trainer, or yoga teacher, etc.? Returning to exercise after surgery is a topic on my blog list after the first of the year. Perhaps you'd like to keep me posted on how you're coming along, and if you're interested, I might quote you for the blog. Let me know your thoughts.

XOXOXO,
Brenda
Anonymous commented on 09-Dec-2010 04:40 AM
Brenda, what a wonderful post. I gained a new insight into you (you daredevil you!) and your relationship with your husband and faith in God, have moved and inspired me immensely today. What a special lady you are!
Anonymous commented on 09-Dec-2010 06:51 PM
Marie, So glad you stopped by to visit. I sometimes think Steven Spielberg based Indiana Jones on my life. Crazily fearless... or was it fearlessly crazy? Same difference. I've survived more things than anyone has a right to, and I'm so grateful. Thanks to James, I think I've wised up in certain areas. I've certainly found Prince Charming. Thank you, God, for blessing me beyond reason. XOXOXO, Brenda
Anonymous commented on 09-Dec-2010 07:53 PM
Hi Brenda!
I missed San Antonio this year because on Dec. 22, I'm leaving for Kigali to see my mom.
I really enjoyed this blog because it brings me back to my senses!! OR should I say to the truth of the matter!
How we tend to forget whose we are and who we really are! Once I LET God TAKE His place in my life,
(which by the way, is not that easy until I come face to face with the life-giant like big C!!!) I realize He is in charge,
and does not need my help,then life has meaning. Moments like this are rare...how pitiful!!! Yes, thank you for
reminding me I must talk and draw near to God with every breath that I take----I owe it to Him!! Don't we all?
Keep up the great work, thank you for paying tribute to your husband too!!!
Love & Blessings, Philippa Kibugu-Decuir
Anonymous commented on 11-Dec-2010 07:12 PM
Philippa,
I hope your trip home is a safe one. I know you will be of great comfort to your mother and perhaps return with other ideas to help the women of Rawanda.

It's so easy to let the everyday, little things stack up on us and forget God wants us to talk with him about everything. Just as your mother is grateful for your love, she sees herself in you and takes pride in the woman you've become, God is no different. In return, He wants our love and praise for blessing us and giving us life.

Can't wait to hear about your trip. When you get back, let me know about your mom and how your trip went.

Love,
Brenda
Anonymous commented on 18-Dec-2010 03:20 AM
Amen, sister! :D I'm also amazed when I look back how gracious and merciful God has been and know that without His intervention I would have been toast long ago! ;D He has used this cancer journey even more in drawing me closer to Himself and in showing Himself faithful. Great post!
Anonymous commented on 19-Dec-2010 01:27 PM
Hi Beckye, So glad to hear you're a woman of faith. I can't imagine walking this breast cancer journey without Him. Brenda
Anonymous commented on 29-Dec-2010 02:09 PM
God seed to your beloved husband James. Please remember that God has His arms outstretched far around you surrounding you with much love & hope. He will never let you feel alone.
I believe you trust this.

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