on dancin’ again

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Whew – I just made myself exceedingly dizzy. Really. Dizzy to the point of dazed and to making erratic mumblings along the lines of “I wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow is doing this right now . . . on a Sunday night . . . crunching her abs in hopes of trimming her waistline.” Did I mention the part about my being dizzy? Yes, I think I did. It’s been a long time since I’ve attempted any kind of a crunch, abdomen or otherwise. The only thing I think I crunched tonight was a vertebrae in my neck, all in the name of shedding an inch or two off of my middle before my son’s July wedding.

What a disaster . . . my body, not the wedding! I used to be in shape. Four years ago, I was clocking in 3-4 mile runs on a daily basis. This discipline compensated for any overeating I might have done and kept me at a consistent weight, able to fit into the wardrobe in my closet. Alas, my running days are now over, and in the course of these last three years, I’ve let myself go. My once, disciplined regimen of exercise has whittled down to walking 4-5 days per week. Walking is great for the heart, but it’s not enough to prevent extra layers of warmth from collecting around my middle.

This is a loss. This is my reality, and I am disappointed with myself . . . again. What happened to the spirited, disciplined, highly motivated gal who, up until a few years ago, was healthy, happy, and on the fast track with her future?

Apparently, she went away, went in to hibernation in that cabin way back up the mountain where people often go when loss comes around. I want her back. I really want her back. I don’t think she’s too far off, just hidden. It may take me some time to find her again, but I know she’s out there, and she’s expecting me.

This won’t be just a physical search; it will be a spiritual one as well. Other things beyond the flesh often go into hiding when loss comes around. The spirit and soul of a person . . . they, too, often choose retreat when life takes an unexpected turn down an unwanted path.

I want to tell you something, make as honest of a confession I can make: Every day since cancer, August 23, 2010, I’ve made a choice for life. I’ve gotten out of bed, regardless of my feelings, and made the decision to walk the day through. Every blessed day, I’ve said “Yes” to living and to living the day with Jesus. This single, deliberate choice has kept me. Simply and profoundly kept me.

This has been enough grace, enough faith to tether my heart to expectation despite the fact that, most days, I struggle with my realities—the physical ones I see in the mirror and the emotional ones I feel in my spirit. But I keep going, because I have Jesus, and I hold to the firm belief that my best days are ahead of me, not behind me. I don’t know what this will look like in the days to come, if the layers around my middle or the layers around my heart will decrease. But to that end, I am making a commitment because . . .

I want her back. I really want her back. With God’s help, I’ll find her again. Together, he and I will bring her down from the mountain and set her soul and feet to dancin’ . . . at a wedding.

I’ve got some work to do, friends, so I’d better get busy. Keep choosing life with Jesus, every single morning when you wake up. Keep choosing rest with Jesus, every single night when you lie down. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. He is our only hope for better days ahead. As always . . .

Peace for the Journey,

I will be taking time off from blogging here to work on some writing projects. I hope to feature some guest posts from some special friends. If you’d like to be in touch, feel free to send me an email by clicking here. I still have some copies of Beyond Cancer’s Scars and Peace for the Journey in my mudroom if you’d like a copy; click here to learn more

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12 Responses to on dancin’ again

  1. I think the journey you are on is going to be so rewarding, Elaine. You just keep after ‘getting that girl back’, with the same determination you’ve had in greeting each new day since cancer. You can DO this my friend!!! I’ll be cheering you on, as my own journey back to that girl continues, 13 pounds off so far. 🙂

  2. Beautiful post, so full of excitement and zest for life. That decision to go on living, despite the pain, beyond the fear, has kept you on an upward path… and yes, you will dance again, and you will look fabulous on your son’s wedding day. Rejoicing with you, Lidia

  3. My friend, there may be parts of the girl you lost hiding in the cabin in the mountains, but her heart has been most evident right here on your blog. AND she has been a huge encouragement to me. Blessings to you.

  4. Elaine, I’ve lost myself. I blogged about it today, just because I needed to know if anyone out there knows what I’m feeling. And yes, here is your post, and you have summed up so much of what I’m feeling. I miss me – I actually used that phrase in my post. I don’t feel like dancing, I feel like sitting, or going back to bed. And yet, I miss the vitality of life that I used to feel.

    Oh, how your words have touched me today. Keep choosing life, keep choosing rest. Yes, Lord, help me to do just that. I want to dance again.

    GOD BLESS.

  5. Elaine, I think you’ve done an amazing job choosing life and forward movement in spite of a scary experience with cancer. It may be that the time was not right until now to try to tackle the other personal challenges. I wish you all the best with everything! Blessings, dear sister!

  6. Hello Sweet Friend!
    I’m still here! I know what you mean about losing yourself. I’ve suffered from depression since James died three years ago, and it’s often been a struggle to get through the day and get back to the self that looks forward to life. It’s not easy! I know!

    Even though we’re both women of great faith, I realized God is not going to take me to the gym or get me to work on the things I want to achieve. While He’s there for us as we do these things, strengthening, refining and loving us, we are the ones who must do these things for ourselves. Like Dorathy in the Wizard of Oz learned: You’ve always had the power to find yourself, again. That girl you knew didn’t go away! She’s still inside you!

    Take one step, everyday, and you will be well on your way to finding her. If you need help taking those steps, don’t hesitate to find an exercise class, a dietician, a therapist. It’s the chicken and the egg: It’s hard to take the first steps, but those steps will give you confidence and empowerment to keep you moving forward.

    XOXOXO,
    Brenda

    • I love seeing your words here, Brenda! It’s been way too long since we’ve connected. I appreciate your encouragement and am giving some time and attention to all aspects of my health. Let’s talk soon. Love you.

  7. wifeforthejourney:

    I love your good humor and the work ethic you bring to each day. Let none of your readers be fooled, you are still waaayy more active than you let on.

    Nick’s wedding day still seems far off, and so does our time in the mountains. You are good company no matter the day or time!

    Love you,
    Billy

  8. Elaine, I wanted to leave a comment to encourage you and found myself in tears of rejoicing and so I prayed for you as I read: “I want her back. I really want her back. With God’s help, I’ll find her again. Together, he and I will bring her down from the mountain and set her soul and feet to dancin’ . . . at a wedding.”

    You sure will Elaine Killian Olsen! Praying for you friend.

    • Thank, Lisa. As soon as I opened up the post again for comments, spam started flowing in. I’m going to have to close it up. Sorry for those of you who’d like to leave a comment but aren’t able to do so.