“Every test in our life makes us bitter or better, every problem comes to make us or break us. The choice is ours whether we become victim or victor.” – Unknown
Race for the Cure is coming up soon. Our family is participating in honor of Mom. This is a hard step for me because a few months ago, I hated the color pink. I didn’t want anything pink reminding me that cancer “beat” our family. I was bitter and angry because “the cause” didn’t work for us. I was sad to see old pictures of my Mother wearing her pink survivor shirt knowing she would never wear it again.
Then it hit me.
I can become bitter or I can become better. My high school government teacher told me that in the 11th grade, and I have never forgotten it. Nine zillion years later, I am still thinking about it. That story alone speaks volumes about how much teachers can impact a student’s life, long after the class is over.
I still struggle with the bitterness, but then I am reminded of how it is my choice to become bitter or better. The question remains, how do I become better? What can I do to become better? For weeks, I thought the answer was taking time for myself. I thought I needed to self-reflect on the past year, read books about grief, or journal about my feelings. While that all sounds great (and a little cliché, I might add), I realized I only truly felt better when I was serving in some way.
God has really put some wise people in our paths through all of this, and I have never been more thankful for that. My beautiful aunt and I met for breakfast one morning this summer. She is the epitome of a servant. She reminded me of numerous ways I can serve. There are organizations right here in our backdoor begging for help. United Way, Mary’s House, Mary’s Closet, The Dream Center, SHINE soup kitchen, local schools, and that is just the first few that come to mind.
I didn’t have to pray about it. I didn’t wait for a sign to fall on my head. I went home and began researching how my family could help in some way. That same week, Daddy came to me and said he wanted to raise money for Susan G Komen through Race for the Cure. We started a website for him yesterday, and he’s on a mission with that.
I believe experiencing something like the death of a loved one changes you forever. Serving as a way to heal will benefit us much more than it helps any organization. I pray it will become something we do forever, but not because any organization needs us. Nobody needs this glorified mess of a person I am right now. I NEED them. I need to serve. I need to be reminded of how broken we all are, and how we are here to help each other get through this life that can be extremely difficult at times. We are all a mess in our own individual way. We must help each other, encourage each other, share resources with each other, pray for each other, and serve each other, along the way.
I have no idea how God will use any of this right now. I don’t even know the logistics of everything yet. I just know we are open. I also know we HAVE to become better. We just have to become better. My Mother would want this. She would want this more than anything. Serve. Give. Support.
Bitter or better? It is a choice.
Thank you, Shannon Leatherwood.
Web addresses for the organizations mentioned in this post:
http://bit.ly/OOGP6o – Daddy’s personal webpage for Race for the Cure
http://makinadifferencetoday.blogspot.com/ – The Dream Center
http://www.uwpickens.org/ – United Way of Pickens County