In an interview with Chelsea on Netflix, Shannen Doherty shares, from very personal experience, why we all need a change of mindset about life. This is what she says, with reference to her battle with breast cancer – and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: She says, “I think what is beautiful and bad and interesting about cancer is that it tears you down and builds you, and tears you down and builds you. It remakes you so many different times. The person I thought I was supposed to be or was going to be or who I thought I was six months ago is now somebody completely different. I realize, ‘Wow, I really thought that I was so brave and so gracious this entire time and really I was just hiding”.
I heard a different version of this same truth in a bible study group a few weeks ago from cancer survivors. Their struggle with cancer “forced” them to see life with different lenses on a daily basis. That is why Shannen can see something beautiful and ugly at the same time; something interesting and hard at the same time. And in that cycle one finds life and survival.
It is when we see life as lineal – as from birth to death – that we are burdened and even overcome with its transforming circumstances. Most of our prayers are petitions for removal of circumstances and situations rather than transformation through the circumstances and change of mindset. In other words we adopt resistance instead of acceptance.
Joy and peace comes from being broken and rebuilt; in acceptance and transformation.
A publisher invited readers – obviously aiming for potential authors – to share how they would complete this phrase: “If I told you my story, you would hear…”
Every person’s life is a unique story. That is why we say, we all have a story to tell. There are different ways our stories are told.
Writers are introverts; writing is their means of telling their stories. Whether they withdraw to cabins in the Poconos or some mountains in Colorado, or reflect while trekking on some trail, they are indeed searching to understand their story, then share with readers.
When you read the blogs I pen here you get a picture of my journey – in its many and varied facets. Thus when I blog on peace and joy, faith, hope, perseverance, humility and compassion, I am actually sharing my life experience and how I view it in those lenses.
And so, everyone has a story to tell. Are you telling your story? How? What are we hearing?
Write your comment here or send me an e-mail.
Most dictionaries give a two-point definition of perseverance:
1. A steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
2. The second has a theological input: Continuous in a state of grace to the end.
The French “perseverance” means persistence or endurance, while the Latin origin “perseverantia” means steadfastness or constancy. Since we have these ideas of difficulties, obstacles, discouragement and even endurance we may over-react into thinking of hardship, struggle and even misery. That is why the theological lens is so important.
Yes, patience and persistence is integral to persevering. It is an exercise and a state of being as defined above. And because it is state of being, it has a lot to do with mindset. When the focus is on grace, both in the now and in the outcome, then perseverance becomes joyful not torturous. We can endure because we believe and trust in the graciousness of our expectations.
It is in this mindset that Paul writes in Romans 5: 4 that “perseverance produces character and character produces hope”. Hope is pure grace and in it there is peace and joy.
In the Kichagga language of the Chagga people of Kilimanjaro the word used in greeting is “kaapho”. Literally it means, “be there”, and in question form it would mean, “are you there?”. This can be compared to the (South African) Zulu greeting, “Sawubona”, meaning, “I see you”, to which the response is, “Ngikhona”, meaning, “I am here”.
Kaapho and Sawubona, and ngikhona – and, indeed many similar expressions among different tribes of the world – carry profound deep meaning. Acknowledging a person, “be there”, or “I see you” signifies the totality of the person – personality, individuality, dignity, well-being, specialness, and so on. It is recognition in its fullest, devoid of negativity, reductionism, or lacking.
Think of it in contrast to the western expression, “how are you doing?” and even the more formal, “how are you?”. For, if we were to take the time to hear the responses that would come from the inquiry “how” we would certainly be overwhelmed! Typically, it is complaints about not feeling well, exhaustion from work, financial inadequacies, health issues and teenager challenges and so on.
What we learn from unpolluted humanity is that life is about being; it is experiential rather than performance. That is where all goodness proceed from.