Monday, January 18, 2016

When Bad News is Good News

“We don’t know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12b (CEV)

I stood up against the church door, propping it open with my foot, greeting people as they came and went from the worship center.

“Good morning!” I said in my most cheerful voice. “Have a great week!” I smiled as I shook a few hands.

As the sunlight streamed down onto my face, sharing its warmth on the cold wintry day, I took a moment to scratch the itchy rough place just above my eyebrow. Darn it! I thought. Still there. My hand reached up a little further to feel a spot on my forehead I had tried for a week not to touch, hoping that not picking at it would make it go away too. Nope. I guess I’ll have to ask about that one too.

It was Sunday, and just one day away from my dermatology appointment. The appointment was a follow up to the one I had six weeks before, where I had been given a cream that was supposed to clear up the red, scaly rash I had developed around my eyebrow. The ten days of treatment had come and gone. Six weeks later, the rough spot had temporarily cleared up but then returned. The spot on my forehead was new.

I examined my face Monday morning before leaving for the doctor’s office. Hmm. Sigh. Well, we will just see what she says, I thought.

An hour later, I was looking at what looked a little like a miniature version of a ray gun I had seen in the movie Star Wars. It wasn’t in the hands of an intergalactic warrior, however. It was in the hands of my dermatologist, who was preparing to use it on my face.

Six weeks beforehand, if my doctor had told me I had two precancerous growths on my face, I would have been concerned. I might have even been alarmed. My sister had said told me a couple months back that she was using a “chemo cream” on a place over her eyebrow, which in fact is what led me to get my own checked out. I didn’t want anything even remotely connected with the words “cancer” or “chemo.”

At this appointment, however, receiving the news that I had two AKs (an acronym for the hard-to-pronounce and even-harder-to-remember diagnosis of Actinic Keratoses) that needed to be removed via the mini-ray gun - er, cryosurgery – was a relief.

Don’t get me wrong; I would have much preferred it if the places on my face were just minor blemishes that could be fixed with a little acne medication or steroid cream. It’s just that the news of my precancerous lesions came after receiving the news of multiple friends with actual cancer.

Suddenly - in light of my friends' diagnoses - my diagnosis seemed like no big deal, in comparison. In fact, I felt grateful for the "bad news" my doctor had delivered. Unless I get an unexpected recurrence of these AKs, or unless more pop up, I’m done. My friends, on the other hand, are not. Nine weeks of chemo here. Six months there. Surgery. And, as I learned when my mother had cancer many years ago (and thankfully recovered from), you’re not considered “cured” until you hit the five-year remission mark.

All of this reminds me that how we deal with life’s ups and downs has much to do with perspective. 

At Christmastime, my daughter whined that Santa didn’t bring her a new iPhone or hoverboard like some of her friends received. Yesterday, I saw a photo of a Syrian child, not much younger than my own, who was literally starving in a refugee camp. Perspective, my child, perspective.

My Spring Sight blog audience is tiny compared to some other Christian bloggers. Yet, those same bloggers are writing and promoting theirs every day, while I am getting paid well to write elsewhere (aka, my “real” job) and have the privilege of spending most evenings and weekends with my family, rather than in front of the computer. Perspective, Linda, perspective.

I beat myself up often because of my struggle to lose the eight to ten pounds that keeps me in the slightly overweight versus healthy category of the weight charts. Then I see someone who, despite doctors and diets, has at least 50 pounds to go before they lose the “morbidly obese” label. To them, I’m already slim. Perspective. It’s all about perspective.

As my wise husband pointed out the other day to my daughter, an attitude of gratitude goes a long way. God cares about what we want, but He cares more about what we need. And perhaps the best way for us to appreciate all that we have, and even that which we don’t, is to look around.

Today, my bad news is good news. Very good news indeed.

How are you at keeping a positive perspective on life’s ups and downs? What do you struggle to be grateful for? Do you have a story to share of “bad news” that you then realized was actually good news?

When Bad News is Good News originally appeared on Spring Sight blog, by Linda W. Perkins. Click here for more posts. Get even more encouragement by following me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter

Many of Spring Sight's posts can also be found each week on Grace Esedeke's EncourageMe MondayCrystal Storms' #IntentionalTuesday,  Kelly Balarie's #RaRaLinkUp, Holly Barrett's Testimony Tuesday, Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth, Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart,  and Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday.

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  1. I love this Linda. I constantly remind myself & others I support that it is all about perspective. It doesn't mean your own battles aren't real, it's just all about looking at the blessings that surround us. The things we can be so thankful for. Thank you for so eloquently putting things into perspective. Sam xx

    1. Thanks, Sam. You are one of my inspirations for staying positive. xx

  2. May we always look through eyes of compassion at the needs of others. Your post brought to mind, "God is our merciful Father & the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." (2 Cor. 1:3-4, NLT) Grateful to have been your neighbor this morning at Testimony Tuesday. Blessings!

  3. Great post, Linda! Perspective and gratitude can make a world of difference. I was just telling a friend the other day how I'm refocusing my efforts on not complaining, because most of my complaints are linked to blessings. Household chores that stack up serve to remind me that I have a home, heat, food and clothing. It should be a joy to take care of my home if I am grateful for the blessing. Even Rheumatoid Disease -- when I want to complain about my pain, I need to stop and remember how much I've been helped by treatments and how many good days I have; not to mention the people that God brought into my life that I never would have met otherwise. In terms of your blog - I'd encourage you to remember that regardless of your audience size, if you change the life of just one person, it's worth it! I know I've appreciated finding you! Keep up the great work -- and I'm happy to hear that your diagnosis isn't anything worse.

    1. Thanks so much, Dana! Yes, it's all about that ONE. I appreciate your encouragement and inspiration too! :-)

  4. Linda, perspective truly can give us an attitude of gratitude. Just this morning my heart became grateful when I changed my focus from a hard relationship in my life to how much God has blessed me in another. Thank you, Linda, for the reminder to change my focus and for sharing at #IntentionalTuesday. : )
    P.S. I'm glad your diagnosis, though not great, reminded you of your blessings. : )

    1. Thanks, Crystal. It's always a joy to connect with you. Glad that perspective is helping you through your situation as well. :-)