Yesterday we had gale force winds here in Minnesota. In the morning there was a steady 25 mile an hour wind from the Northwest. Since my bike ride to work is pretty much Northwest, this is not day-brightening news in the morning. And somehow the tailwind I had on the way home didn't seem nearly as powerful as the morning headwind. Some of that was real. The wind did drop a bit during the day. But most of the difference I experienced was due to the fact that I get much more fixated on the wind when it is impeding my progress. When it's helping me, I tend not to notice.
I think that for me and for many if not most of us, biking in the wind is a good metaphor for life. We notice the headwind. The little problems and issues and difficulties in our life. We forget about, or ignore, or undervalue, life's tailwinds.
And this is my answer to the question "what is good about having had cancer?" For me, and for many others who have been touched by cancer, you do at least a little better at remembering the "tailwinds" in your life. Your family. Your friends. Who you always thought but now know will be there for you in good or bad times. My family and friends are a huge tailwind that blows constantly in my life.
When I was sick I "forgot" how to walk. How to climb stairs. How to control the movements of my legs. To this day, seven years later, it is a joy for me to climb stairs. When I climb up stairs I remember to appreciate the fact that I can do this simple thing I took for granted for so many years. I make it a habit to climb two at a time. Why? Partly because I can. But mostly because it helps me remember how blessed I am (though after a couple of flights sometimes it just reminds me that I need to get in better shape).
I don't want to get too sappy about this. But Thanksgiving is coming up and we have so much to be thankful for. Sometimes we do face headwinds. But the tailwind is blowing too. More than we sometimes notice.
(I realize lots of these entries emanate from things thought about on bike rides. Bike rides make up two quiet half-hours of my work day. Maybe because you never forget how to ride a bike, it's a time where I can let my mind wander. And I haven't figured out how to drink wine or watch television or read while I'm riding. I don't think there is a deeper explanation than that. But I'll think about it.)
(I learned about bike safety from my father - who was, and even after his death continues to be, one of my "tailwinds".)