"What lies before us and what is behind are tiny compared to what is within us."
Today I went back to Hackensack for a routine checkup. I go back about twice a year and usually to a different "post cancer" office building. Today it just so happened that my appointment was back at the clinic where I took chemo almost five years ago.
I haven't been inside the clinic in at least two and a half years and it was really strange to be back there again. It felt so familiar, like my second home, but then it felt like I was an outsider now. I didn't recognize a single patient there. All the ones I knew have finished up and are out of there a long time already.
The doctors and nurses were busy tickling and entertaining JB who was there for the first time, and I was signing copies of my book that I had brought along to give out.
I felt a little out of place talking about my book in a room full of kids who were so sick and seemed to have it so much worse than I did back then, but then the phrase at the start of this post caught my eye.
It was framed on the wall above the secretary's desk and I thought it was so beautiful. It made me feel so at peace with my illness and how long or short or hard or easy it may have been compared to others.
I realized it's not about comparing. Hashem doesn't compare. He gives us all different lives to lead, and different strengths to deal with our different struggles. Hashem doesn't look at us and compare our nisyonos with others', He knows what He has given each of us and expects us to use what He gave us to live with it.
He won't ask me after 120 why I didn't deal with my illness the way Leah'le did, or why I wrote a book about it when Michal kept quiet. All He will want to know was if I used the tools he supplied me with in the best possible way that I could.
He won't ask me about the details in my life, He will already know them as He is the one who maps out those details. He will only want to hear about what was within me. What I used from my own resources to navigate the road he chose to be my path in life.
So when I left my hospital today after a short checkup and a long visit, I left reassured that no matter who may compare me and judge me and criticize, the only two answers I need to give are to Hashem and to myself.
I am growing and learning and changing every day and there is no possible way for me to answer something now that will have to last for eternity, but I can say that I am happy with where I stand right now.
I didn't write this book for me, I wrote it for others. I know what role cancer has held in my life and now I hope that others can take hope and inspiration from my story, whether they like the book or not.
My book comes from that which is within me- my writing was a tool that G-d gave me to use in my personal life struggles and I know that people can say all they want about where I have come from and how far I have gone, but no one can judge me about what is within. That is between me and my creator.
I'm proud that I was able to work my outside experiences into something I was able to internalize. It doesn't matter to me anymore that my illness was maybe a little shorter than someone else's or that my story had a nice ending, what matters is how I dealt with it. I took a look within today, and I guess you can say I like what I saw.
And now I just took a look in the mirror and discovered that my head is once again bloated.