Hand holding photo of a plant

Reclaiming My Awe

Do you remember when you were first diagnosed or when you received word that your tumors were on the move again? It was a very scary time, without a doubt. But, in my mind, it was also a time when life slowed down. Not in terms of doctor appointments and all manner of tests, but in general. All of a sudden, I started looking at and seeing everything around me.

New meaning in the mundane

A beautiful sunset or sunrise has always caught my attention and filled me with awe. The same is true with the majesty of mountains or the vastness of the ocean. It isn't that I have gone through life completely oblivious, but I am sorry to say that I took a lot for granted.

Suddenly, though, after my diagnosis, everyday things brought on new meaning. Even a weed growing in the yard was fascinating and miraculous. Maybe it was because I thought I was soon going to be meeting my Maker that I started seeing and appreciating His creations that had been around me all along, except I was just too busy to stop and notice.

Rediscovering beauty in my backyard

I didn't feel good enough for much activity so I started sitting in my backyard. Pretty soon, I brought my camera out with me so that I could capture the things I was seeing. Once I had the camera in hand, everything took on new meaning. I found my mind framing every scene everywhere in terms of how it would look photographed.

A photo the author, Donna, took of a plant

A photo Donna took while exploring nature

All of a sudden, the rocks in a defunct pond in the backyard were completely fascinating to me. The various colors, the shapes, the way they were stacked - everything about those rocks that had been there since we bought the house was suddenly new and amazing! Pretty soon, I hung bird feeders so that I could watch the birds while I sat outside. I had no idea we had so many different kinds of beautiful birds around here until I put out that feeder.

It brought me joy to watch the titmice and their little companions, the chickadees, come and enjoy the seeds I put out. I tried and tried to capture the perfect picture of the cardinal couples that would feast at the feeders. And the hummers. Oh, my!!! I had never actually seen a hummingbird until after I was diagnosed with cancer at age 59. How I loved my little hummer, but oh did he frustrate me!

Every time another hummer tried to feast on the nectar I supplied, Mr. Kamikaze would come from nowhere and attack. He wasn't about to share, even though there were by that time three or four feeders out there, more than enough for everyone.

A photo of a squirrel taken by the author, Donna, in her backyard

A photo Donna took while exploring nature

I watched the clouds, the breeze rustling the trees, the flowers I tended and everything filled me with an awe that I had never felt before. I always considered having to slow down and appreciate life around me as one of the blessings of being diagnosed with cancer.

Slipping into a new normal

It has now been about 5-1/2 years since I was diagnosed. And, it occurred to me that I am reverting back to my old self. Once more, I rush from one activity to the next without taking the time to smell the proverbial roses. Life has settled back into a "normal."

I think I have become complacent. Even knowing that at any moment my life can change on a dime and I can be faced with tumors exploding everywhere, I have lost some of my awe for the mundane things in life and once more take them for granted. Now that I have realized that I am again running through life without always taking the time to truly appreciate all that surrounds me, I am trying to find my "awe" again, to reopen my eyes. This time, I want to capture that feeling without the beast nipping at my heels and threatening to take my life in the next few months.

What about you? Did you ever lose your awe? And, if you did, did you find it again?

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