Keep on going.
There is one thing I’ve learned about life: attitude is everything. This is not just a corny little slogan or a platitude. Your attitude makes or breaks you. It defines you.
Everyone is struggling with something. No one’s life is perfect or peachy keen. We cannot control what happens to us; the only things we can control is how we react. You can give up and lay down, or you can get up and keep going.
Tonya, my neighbor with a egg-sized brain tumor, decided to take her inevitable hair loss into her own hands and throw a Bald is Fabulous Party. In front of forty of her friends and family, Tonya lost all of her hair with a smile on her face.
If you’re going to shave your head, might as well do a fun mohawk first, right?
With a couple more snips and buzzes, all her hair was gone. She’s donating two braided ponytails to Locks of Love. Her oldest son, Conlin, explained to me that “other wittle girls and boys need hair so momma is going to give them a wittle wig.”
Things have been rough lately for Tonya and her family. She’ll be starting chemo soon but is also looking into experimental treatments since the tumor is inoperable. She had a series of seizures last week (six in one night!) and has been put on some powerful drugs to keep it from happening again. Unfortunately, those drugs have horrendous side effect, like short-term memory loss. But she’s still her positive, upbeat self.
She said in an e-mail, “Through this process, I have spoken to so many people who are struggling – women with postpartum depression, single moms, men and women with drug and alcohol problems, those who had been sexually abused, people going through divorces, children abandoned by their family, or women who were raped. And the thing they all say is, "I just couldn’t tell any one" or "I just didn’t have anyone to talk to" or "I just figured stuff like this didn’t happen to other people that I know." God has revealed to me that the real problem is that we do not talk to each other. This is why I have cancer. I know God has blessed me with time, a listening ear, wisdom, encouragement, and a positive attitude, and a love of lifting people up and giving hugs! My hope is that by shaving my head now, some lonely woman behind me in the TJ Maxx checkout line will have the courage to talk to me about her problems. Maybe her plan was to go home alone to her cats, eat takeout food, watch TV, and talk to no one… but because of my cancer, she will talk to me. Maybe that will be the doorway for her to share something that has been weighing heavily on her heart. Maybe we will go get coffee, and I will get her phone number. She will have made a new friend, and I will invite her to church the following week. That is what I hope for.”
A big thanks to T. Reid and Company for donating space for Tonya’s party.
Whatever it is that you are going through, I hope you find a way to keep on going, too.