Keepin It Real

This blog was started almost 2 weeks ago, but I’m just now able to get it published….

From an early age I was taught to give all of my effort and energy to those with whom I come into contact and to give 100% of my best to my commitments.  Because of that, I’m used to doing a lot and I’m used to going at a fast pace.  Up until a few months ago, when I was laid off as a Social Worker from Sacramento County Child Protective Services, my life consisted of non-stop chaos and never-ending thrills where the drama was constant and the stress was way beyond a healthy amount for even the most highly trained professional. On top of my career, I was actively involved in my church and several nights each week were spent either planning the next big event or meeting up with friends to share the realities of life with one another.  Because I am such a people person, I find no greater joy than in building relationships with others and going beyond the surface of what is first presented to create long lasting connections.  I crave that intimate contact and it brings such fulfillment to my life when my time is shared with those who are important to me.

From the time of my diagnosis, I have been physically exhausted, and this week, if we’re keepin it real, my emotions have fallen into step with the rest of my body.  Some have asked me if I felt that way prior to learning the news or if it’s merely psychological.  In all honesty, I have no idea.  I’ve been tired since I started working as a social worker over 5 years ago and I don’t think it ever went away, so it’s hard to judge when or if things have changed.  Nowadays, it feels like I wear out at an even greater pace which has severely affected the way I am able to “go” and “do.”  It has been a difficult transition for me to understand that I have and will be experiencing even greater limitations in the near future.  To make matters worse, the person that I used to be to others is no longer something I am able to offer and it is tearing at the core of who I am…shaking my entire identity.

It would be much easier for me to write something spiritually uplifting here or to “fake the funk” as my pastor so often says, but sometimes the truth isn’t neatly packaged into a quaint bumper sticker and it sure isn’t always easy to hear.  The truth is, that this week sucked…and it sucked the big one!  Emotions are running high, the original positivity that myself and those close to me shared early on is starting to crack under the fear of what could be…and with it, tempers are flaring, expectations aren’t always being met and feelings are getting hurt.  The selfish child within me is screaming that this is the last thing I should be worrying about right now, that I need to save my strength for the battle to come, but my normal, grown up self realizes that my reactions and own fears are playing a part into how some of this conflict is going down.  My normal, healthy, psychologically grounded self, is able to take a step back from the situation, look at the players and offer grace for what they might be going through during this ordeal.  And then my selfish child rears its ugly head again, complete with the protruding lip and my adult self has to tell her to knock it off and go find some Tinker Toys to play with!

Then there’s the part of me that wonders if this is even an appropriate blog to reveal to the world.  Afterall, perhaps it’s a bit “too real” for some to digest.  Isn’t it so much nicer to click on a person’s link and be met with words flowing with flowers and sweet perfume, surrounded by an upbeat song about banana pancakes by Jack Johnson?  Well, life isn’t always covered in syrup and at some point the roses stop blooming, and sometimes by hiding that reality we do an injustice to others struggling to deal with the circumstances they themselves are doing their best to survive.  The truth of the matter is most of the time, the majority of us are hanging on by a thread, but somehow we manage to plant a lopsided grin on our face and meander through life as if we haven’t a care in the world.  It’s as if by unveiling the truth, we will then have to acknowledge to ourselves that it does in fact exist.  Well, my friends, Cancer is a reality and it very much does exist in my current world.

So, here I am, today…unveiling and acknowledging.  I am imperfect.  I can be self-focused.  I am scared of what life will look like in less than a week.  I am afraid that I will wake up one day during the midst of my treatment and the people I thought would be there will no longer deem me a worthy object of their attention.  I am afraid that my selfish child within will say something incorrect in the heat of the moment and my adult self will have to deal with the consequences. I am afraid that after the surgeons finish what they need to do, that my smile and my eyes will no longer be the first thing that catches a persons attention.

But oddly enough, if we’re “keepin it real” I also find myself surrounded by a serious sense of peace. One that surpasses the fears and the what ifs and focuses me back on the journey ahead. In the midst of writing this blog, I heard a sermon this weekend talking about trials and the purpose behind them. Sometimes life is just what it is. There are going to be times that the questions outweigh the answers and the reasons why just don’t feel quite adequate enough to remedy the current situation, but there is hope. If I look around those in my life who have made it to the inner circle, there is not one person there who has not had to deal with some type of serious calamity. The hard truth is it’s easier to trust a person who has been through something of significance and has proven that they will remain someone of integrity through it all than someone who can only guess at what they would do in a certain situation. And oddly enough, It is somehow comforting to look at the crooked path of the person next to us and say, “If they can do it, I can get through this too!” So, on the days that the emotions of the “C” word are kicking my butt, all I am really able to do right now is throw up my hands in surrender and just know that God has a plan for every ounce of hurt that I am going through and every moment in the future when it seems like too much. And if one person can take a peak into my life and see that I can survive and find peace through the Lord’s grace, then I’ve decided, this journey will have to be worth it.

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13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Patricia Rickard
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 20:56:09

    Sitting here next to Kelli, reading this, and crying my eyes out. Cancer is one thing we did not want to do but finding the peace that only Jesus can give is something none of us wanted to miss. I love you Kelli girl!

    Reply

  2. Los
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 21:23:58

    Kelly.
    Been too long my friend.
    Me, my 7 year old, my 6 year old, and my 3 year old sat and prayed for your mind today.
    Yes we prayed for all those other things that we are supposed to pray for with a friend with cancer, but your mind kept coming to our hearts.
    So I hope you had even a moment of peace today and I pray God’s healing.
    Love you!
    Los

    Reply

  3. Kelli Rickard
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 22:01:26

    Kelli,
    I am glad you shared this. Thank you. Thanks for keepin’ it real.

    Reply

  4. Kelli Rickard
    Mar 10, 2010 @ 22:02:15

    Love you. I am glad to “hear” your voice again. 🙂
    Jen

    Reply

  5. toni martin-stolp
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 00:23:19

    i love you kelli! and while this may seem meaningless, thank you for keeping it real. cancer sucks. every time. and life IS hard. BUT GOD….
    Your reminding me of how faithful He is by your personal experience of absolutely needing Him to get thru each frustrating moment and hope stealing reality – it helps us realize we’re all in the same boat. the simple truth being: we ALL need Him for absolutely everything! and i hate the pain and suffering you and your family are experiencing this very moment and in moments to come. but the beauty that has already come from ashes you bear, is far too glorious to miss! it all makes little to no sense this side of heaven. i was just listening to Dawson McCallister and Chuck Smith and both were sharing how the limited pieces we have here together leave us guessing, confused, and trusting our Savior. and then we get to heaven and we think “oh, that makes sense”. (i can’t wait!) again, i say that cuz we’re all in the same boat. as i’m sitting here confused with the Lords hand in my own life, (yet assured it’s there working), i know i’m preaching to the choir. no matter what, The Lord Is Good! and i pray, in your darkest of moments, whether right now or in the future, that God fills your mind of His unfailing promises! i love you! God loves you! you’re not alone, my friend. feel free to grieve. and don’t beat yourself up over it. it’s better to live in reality than in a fantasy. you’re “keeping it real” is right where it should be! =) love, toni

    Reply

  6. amfunches
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 02:15:00

    I dont know you but you are such a beautiful writer! I feel like I know you just from reading your blog the last week or so. Thank you for being so open and honest. Many people will read this and gain so much strength from what you have shared! I will be praying for your health, recovery, and God’s peace to continue conforting you on your journey.

    Reply

  7. Vicki Bishop
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 06:57:26

    Love and tears for all of you…

    Reply

  8. Beth Smithwick
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 17:08:49

    Hello Kelly,

    Your words have power. It is the kind of power that opens a person’s heart to the reality around us…life is hard and at times our hearts are greatly pained due to circumstances, yet we try to hide it..love of family, others and God ikeeps us going. The words have the kind of power that made me feel as though I was watching a movie of you and your family at Fisherman’s wharf. And I also easily identified with the struggles you shared from your heart. Your writing draws me in! That is a gift!

    As I read your two stories posted yesterday, King David came to mind. King David honestly poured out his pain-filled heart to God. Yet, he like you, aftering bearing all that was in his heart, settled with God and praised Him as Lord and rested in the “uncanny” peace that only God can give. Kelly, you have a great maturity in your faith. Maybe your “name for this journey” is Davida!

    Thank you for being courageous and real.
    Beth Smithwick

    Reply

  9. whittakerwoman
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 23:00:11

    Praying as I type. That God love will pour, that healing will occur and that his strength will fill! Much love my friend. H

    Reply

  10. Allyson
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 23:02:38

    You don’t know me. I was told of your blog by a friend (who knows your sister). I have much I could say after having read your blog over the past 3 weeks, but for now I will simply say that you are inspiring and such a gifted writer…. and that none of this (not the cancer or your bravery to share via this blog) will have been done in vain.
    Praying!
    Allyson

    Reply

  11. Jaime McWhorter
    Mar 11, 2010 @ 23:32:14

    Though my heart breaks for you…its obvious how God has become your rock. Its ok to tell Him that you’re mad, frustrated or that you physically hurt or you don’t know how or if you can handle the next thing. I know you don’t need to be preached at, but I hope you are encouraged that your story isn’t just floating out there in the abyss that is the internet. People are reading about you, praying for you and learning from you. Hang in there…He’s not finished with you yet. Love you

    Reply

  12. Willie Nelson
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 01:34:08

    You write really well Kelly. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing with all of us. Prayers continue to flow your way.

    Matt

    Reply

  13. Stephanie
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 06:59:26

    Kelli–thank you for keepin it real–I think that you should start a new career–maybe writing? Your words are beautiful from a beautiful person and —my tears just went in my keyboard–anyway–you have a right to ALL of your emotions and sometimes you just have to be selfish and not worry about it–I appreciate you and your honesty–Love you Kelli–Stephanie

    Reply

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