Over the past six months I have repeated the line, “Just let it unfold,” to quite a number of my friends and family who are facing difficult situations. These include things such as a grandma with a cancer diagnosis or no money to pay for college, or an unknown future transitioning out of college, and even a son hoping for a linebacker position on the high school football team. You name it and I can easily apply “just let it unfold.”
What I mean by my oh-so-deep-brilliant line is this:
- Don’t over-think it
- Don’t borrow trouble
- Let it play out
- Look for God in all of it
- Just do the NEXT thing
- Don’t be anxious
- Keep walking through it
- God will give you grace in the journey
To me, it releases the burden of micro-managing life events and ignites faith and positivity to dominate our thoughts.
Hah! That’s all fine until it’s ME that needs to “just let it unfold!”
Seven years ago I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I know what you’re thinking— she’s way too young to have had colon cancer— and you are absolutely right. You can read how that UNFOLDED here and here. Anyway………. because of my history I seem to have a colonoscopy just about every year. Again— WAY TOO YOUNG— I know! This last colonoscopy earned me a referral to Stanford Medical Center. My doctor was mildly concerned and felt a specialist should weigh-in on a precancerous polyp needing to be removed. No big deal. Let’s just get it out completely by the most qualified person.
I absolutely was not worried about this. The frustrating part was taking time out of my summer to drive the almost two hours to Stanford, just to schedule another colonoscopy with this new doctor to easily remove the thing. I was so NOT worried about it that I brought no-one with me.
As I arrived at Stanford, I was greeted with the perpetual chaos of all the construction. The new underground parking garage was like a mini war zone. It was every patient for himself to find a parking spot amidst the honks, shouts, and racing vehicles! The minute I parked I had a line-up of people asking if I was coming or going. Not a calm start to say the least!
I first met with a nurse practitioner who was a spunky, enjoyable woman. She wore blue cowboy boots and a short skirt. I think her goal was to create a light-hearted atmosphere while asking the most awkward colon questions. I’ll spare you the details, but you can just imagine it was all a bunch of crap. Hah!! …Pun intended.
At one point she asked me, “Do you know why you’re here?” Hmmm. Really good question. Next, she mentioned the doctor would do an exam. Hmmm. What could THAT possibly mean? How do you examine a colon if it’s not a colonoscopy?
Over an hour later (and an almost finished novel) the doctor came in. I really liked her; personable and easy to understand. After a few more embarrassing questions she said, “So, we are going to treat this as a cancer finding,” and she began unfolding the details of the treatment plan. I began my own “UNFOLDING”… aka… falling apart… biting my lip, cheeks, tongue. DON’T CRY!
I cried. Pretty hard, actually. She waited for me to regain composure, probably surprised at my reaction because what she said wasn’t TERRIBLE, it just took me back to what it could mean:
- Uncomfortable tests
- Painful IV’s
- MAJOR chunks of my time seeing doctors
- Finding babysitters
I wanted to explain these thoughts to her, but I couldn’t recover enough to put voice to my inner turmoil. Finally, she mentioned that at the very least, I’m facing surgery with an overnight stay in the hospital. Her next phrase was, “Worse case scenario….”
There was no way for me to convey the horror of that phrase. When I faced cancer before, I was ALWAYS the “worst case scenario,” — never once did I escape that phrase. You can read about that here and here.
As the dr. and nurse practitioner waited (probably rolling their eyes at each other) and I chewed my face up trying to stop the tears, a late realization came over me: THIS is a gastro oncologist surgeon and THIS is more involved than a quick fix.
Just let it unfold.
Easy for you…(ahem… ME!)… to say.