Corey and I were planning a mid-winter tropical vacation for our milestone birthdays. (We turned 40 two months apart.) We’re from the Midwest, and I really love living in a part of the world with such diverse seasons. Snow glittering in the moonlight is magical, and ice covered trees are gorgeous. But by February I’m ready to say good-bye to frigid temps and the fluffy white stuff.
So I was excited at the thought of a romantic sunshine-filled February trip. I don’t know where exactly. Maybe Cancun. Maybe a cruise. Maybe the Bahamas. Anywhere with a warm ocean breeze would’ve made me happy.
Then I discovered a lump in my breast, which led to a mammogram, which led to an ultrasound, which led to a biopsy, which led to a diagnosis of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Breast cancer.
We did take a pricey trip in February that year, but it wasn’t to a tropical beach. It was to Iowa Methodist Medical Center where I had the cancerous tumor removed and my body forever altered.
We wouldn’t have chosen that scenario. A beach would’ve been so much more pleasant. But God is just as present in cold Iowa winters filled with mastectomies and oncology appointments as he is in warm, beach vacations filled with good books and the smell of salt water. I felt a closeness to him that winter that I’d never experienced before. And looking back over the past three years, I can see how much more I appreciate things I used to take for granted. Sure I would’ve enjoyed that beach vacation. But a trip taken after cancer will mean more.
We’re back to planning that 40th birthday dream trip. But it has become our 20th anniversary trip instead. It will be a romantic sunshine-filled late February trip. I don’t know where exactly. Maybe Cancun. Maybe a cruise. Maybe the Bahamas. Anywhere with a warm ocean breeze will make me happy. And because of my new outlook on life, the sand will feel softer. The water will look bluer. The breeze will smell sweeter. And the company will be more cherished.
Mind you, I totally fight the following thought because I love the fun, happy, warm, sunshiny seasons of life. But sometimes I wonder if I should be asking God for more of the cold, hard, wintery seasons because those are the times that deepen my love for him and life.