Sunday, June 23, 2013

All is well, all is well

Morgan and Siena with their friend, Brooke, after their dance performance Saturday night.

One of the many things I love about Utah is its focus on the arts. Nowhere have I seen so many dance and music studios, musicals, plays, recitals, symphonies, musical performances, dance reviews... you name it. This is something that dates back to the early pioneers and Brigham Young. Brigham saw huge value in the arts and one of the first things he established once the pioneers got settled in the Salt Lake Valley was a performing arts center. It was a vibrant and exciting part of the burgeoning community.

I hear that Utah sells more pianos and harps than anywhere else in the country. I think every other person in my neighborhood plays the piano. I love it. Siena will start piano lessons in the fall and Morgan has been taking lessons since we moved here.

Anyhow, Morgan and Siena are heavily involved in dance and this weekend was spent in multiple dance recitals. I have to say, I was beyond impress. The skill level of the dancers, the choreography, the music, the costumes, and the overall quality of the recital was astounding. This year's theme was "across America" and it took place at the Covey Center for Performing Arts. In the recital, many states were featured with a song that represented that state and a dance that went along with it.

For Utah, the music started out with the song "Come, come ye saints." While I have many issues with the Mormon church, I am so proud of my ancestors who walked across the plains and settled here in Utah. They were strong, amazing people. If I think my cancer fight is hard, there journey was harder. The performance for Utah left me in tears.

Morgan and Siena danced beautifully. They were both in three dances each and I was so proud of them. Due to our vacation schedule, they missed three weeks of dance classes and we were wondering if they'd be able to participate at all. Not only did they participate, but they shined.

It has been a very hard week for me physically. I had several great weeks with my health but this week wasn't one of them. For whatever reason, I have had extreme fatigue. Like the kind of fatigue where my body shuts down and I cannot move anymore. One afternoon, I was driving the girls and their friends to a family fun park to drop them off. I was at a stop light and I didn't know how I would find the energy to make it home. I have also had debilitating flank pain. Tramadol was my best friend and I was taking one every few hours. And chemo brain was in rare form. My short term memory scares me sometimes. I'll post more on all this later. I will survive this but, dang, fighting cancer and undergoing treatments is so incredibly hard-- physically, mentally and emotionally. With my fight, I never know when I'll have a bad day. It comes without warning and without reason. And the doctor appointments! I love my medical team but, really, it gets so tiring.

Back to the positives...

Life takes on quite a new meaning when one has come close to death. My entire life focus now is on being a good person, making sure my life has meaning, setting a good example for my children, living in the moment, and doing everything I can to meet God on the other side and be able to say, "I did my best." Every one of us has a purpose to fulfill here on Earth. I believe that my purpose was to find my girls in Russia and bring them to America and be their mom. I will go to my grave knowing that I did what I was supposed to do. I thank God every day for trusting me with these girls and I pray constantly that I can parent them and guide them to be amazing adults who will make the world a better place.

The song "Come, Come Ye Saints" was exactly what I needed to hear last night. It gave me a huge jolt of encouragement. "All is well, all is well." This will be my new theme. Whenever I'm scared or tired or angry or feeling demoralized, I'll keep those words and this song in mind. And so I will leave it with you:

Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell -
All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!
We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints, will be blessed.
We'll make the air, with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell -
All is well! All is well!
And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell-
All is well! All is well!