Dancing in the Rain

I saw this quote as I was Christmas shopping this week...

"Life is not about learning to survive the storm, but rather learning how to dance in the rain." (Author Unknown)

Since this has been a challenging Christmas season for me, I was even more drawn to the quote. I bought a small picture frame with the quote on it and I plan to put a picture of John and me in it.

The last two years have brought more than their share of stress. John was diagnosed with CLL in 2007. This September, he began the first of six rounds of chemotherapy, which will hopefully put him in remission for a long time. Going through chemo isn't easy on the patient or the spouse. We are both feeling the wear and tear of illness. John feels it physically and emotionally. My wear and tear is mainly emotional. But neither of us has inflicted any wear and tear on the other. And that is something to be thankful for. Stress can (and often does) bring out the worst in people. Of course, as the spouse, I want to be the most loving, nurturing and supportive partner I can possibly be. But what amazes me is how loving, nurturing and supportive my patient is to me.

As you might imagine, this won't go down in history as the most festive December of our lives. There are days when it feels like we are just surviving the storm. But today I danced a little in the rain.

I have been sleep deprived two nights in a row. I finally went back to bed at 6:00 this morning and slept until 8:30. But I was still so tired. I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling stress and not sleeping, it affects my emotions. And today was no exception. I was feeling so blue as I started some laundry and sipped a cup of coffee. I was definitely just surviving the storm.

And then the phone rang. It was John calling to check on me and tell me that he was considering leaving early and spending the afternoon with me. He knew I needed to do more shopping and he asked if I wanted him to go with me. I said, "You have no idea how much I would like that."

We didn't accomplish anything; not a single purchase. But we strolled the mall, had a nice dinner out and I got to talk to my best friend about some of the things that were causing me anxiety (which I had been trying to keep to myself). John has such a soothing way of helping me put things in their proper perspective.

On the way home, I noticed that I was feeling better and I told John, "You have no idea how much I needed this today." He said he did. And he reminded me that the worst thing I can do is internalize all my emotions because I am a communicator. I have to talk to feel better. He knows me well and, even better, he lets me be who I am. I am so thankful for my husband. Today he was the caregiver.

And I have survived another storm to once again dance in the rain.

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