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  • Writer's pictureNora Walsh Kerr

Look Harder

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

I had a few interviews with cancer survivors this week, which never fails to bring up all the emotions. Fear. Sadness. Hope. Acceptance. Gratitude--not just for remission, but also for the sickness. Wait, what?

One woman spoke at length about how she was grateful for her cancer. I nodded along, not because I had experienced it, but because I had heard this before. Seemingly sane people saying thank God for that threat to their very existence. Why?

"I remember sitting in the backyard just looking at the sky and I don’t think I had looked at the sky quite like that before. I remember thinking, what a beautiful world we have. Sickness brought me that. It makes you look harder."

That's just about the most beautiful way anyone could describe gratitude. And who would know better about appreciating the little things than someone who had just walked through the trenches of high-dose chemo and radiation?

It was at this point in the interview that I had to put the phone on mute to collect myself, wipe my eyes, and blow my nose. I felt her words deep in my bones. Sometimes we have to get knocked down to realize how good we really had it. Because no matter how much meditation and yoga we do, the living tend to take living for granted. When that's threatened, does anything else really matter?

As many of us feel overwhelmed by new work, school or life patterns caused by this pandemic, let the truth of her words sink into your bones. COVID-19 has unsettled us all, but so long as we have air in our lungs, we're going to be OK. I for one will be looking up to the sky more often.


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