To Me vs. For Me

A few years go, while sitting in my big comfy chair with a fluffy blanket burrito-ing me, nursing a perfectly brewed cup of tea and immersed in a great book, I was hit with an epiphany.  A quotation popped off the page, smacked me with a 2 by 4 and caused my head to all of a sudden see my life with different eyes:

Life is simple.
Everything happens for you, not to you.
Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late.
You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.

-Byron Katie


At that time I discovered these words, I felt like I was hiking up Mount Everest carrying overflowing buckets of water with a sumo wrestler on my back all the while being used for emotional target practice.  I’d been tirelessly trying to get my ducks in a row and frankly, those stubborn birds weren’t having any of it.   But, this quote illuminated my real issue; I’d been playing an Oscar award winning performance of a victim acting like the world was out to get me.

After sitting with this quotation and breathing easier, I started to see things driving me bonkers with a ‘for me’ perspective and it felt so freeing I wanted to share my joy… it was Facebook posting time! I typed up the quote and with great satisfaction hit ‘share’.

It didn’t take long for my ‘you’ve got mail’ icon to light up and although there were people who resonated with it, I found myself staring in disbelief at the following added comment, “try telling that to someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer”.  My heart sunk. 

How could my life changing realization be so hurtful for another person?  Would something as life altering as cancer change how I was feeling about my ‘to me vs. for me’ discovery?  Not wanting to take away from my new found outlook, I quickly removed the comment so it wouldn’t harsh my ‘aha’ buzz.

Fast forward to the present…

I got the call.  Lori, it’s cancer.

After months of treatments, being told ‘you need to know, the treatment for cancer can cause cancer’ and taking more pills in a day than I have my entire life, that Facebook shaming moment popped back into my head.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  I had my answer. 

I’ve been told I have cancer… and I don’t feel like it happened TO me.

Although I am still fighting the good fight and can’t yet see or appreciate all of the lessons that are going to come out of this experience, I’ve never asked the question ‘why me’, and I’ve made it perfectly clear that cancer has no power over me. To be completely cliché, I find myself feeling emotions deeper than I ever have before and I finally understand the phrase, “all you need is love”.  I’ve become corny and I’m good with that.

Freeing my heart from its protective gear, feeling safe being vulnerable and learning how to just roll with it, is priceless… and this has happened FOR me.

So, my answer now to the comment “try telling that to someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer” is: I have told these words to myself, who has cancer, and I feel… gratitude.