Sunshine On My Shoulders

Ft Collins copy

Last week, my husband and I vacationed in Colorado.

We went for long walks every day and toured charming towns. We held hands, we laughed, we breathed. We talked about absolutely nothing “important” and it was divine.

We escaped medical bills, doctor’s appointments, exams and lab tests; all of the reality that has been thrust fiercely at us since last November.

For the first time in 8 months, both of us are healthy and we got to trip, lazily through a beautiful part of the country.

Our vacation was marked by celebrations of newness of life, remission from leukemia, redemption for what felt like a merciless beating we took during the leukemia relapse.

As we explored the radiant beauty of Colorado, there were pinch-me moments that we got to be somewhere that beautiful.

Gosh, those pinch-me moments are the ones that make you feel the most alive.

And while my husband and I stood and felt our most alive, my memory flashed back to the day in January after my 6th of  7 bone marrow biopsies when I woke with tears on my cheeks  and I wondered how I would continue to survive. That was the that day I wrote, on this very blog, how desperately I wanted to escape, to have fun but there was absolutely nothing I could do about any of it.

And, there we were, 7 months later, fully alive, having a blast in Colorado.

Redemption: ” the act of making something better or more acceptable” — Merriam-Webster

I have written about the word before, it is one of my favorites and certainly applicable to my life as there have been years lost and then restored due to health battles.

Before I got sick, during my childhood through my twenties, “redemption” was a word in context for me. As a Christian, it meant the gift of salvation.

It was a holy word to be revered.

My understanding of that word changed, along with everything else about me when I got crohn’s disease at 29. That summer and fall of 2001 as I lay in the hospital bed, I did absolutely everything I could to maintain a positive attitude.

Until that summer, my faith, positive outlook and goal-driven personality had led me to success in life. However, crohn’s seemed to upend my life overnight and despite my positive attitude and perseverance of faith, every morning my doctor came in with reports that defeated us. I was growing worse.

My friends were getting married, they were having babies and the nurses were teaching me to Lamaze breathe as a way to survive the pain of crohn’s disease.

I remember my mother telling me to pray that God would restore what crohn’s disease had taken from me.

I did pray that prayer. I prayed it for years because I did not get better immediately, and then I actually got worse, I got leukemia.

But this is the thing, God has repeatedly redeemed the bad times for me. There have been so many brilliant years to counter the dark years.

During our visit to Colorado, we toured a magnificent place called Red Rocks Amphitheater. It is a park with hiking and biking trails as well as a world-famous amphitheater. Artists consider it a privilege to perform there because it is that glorious.

The amphitheater was formed naturally and has perfect acoustics. My husband and I were spellbound by Red Rocks and have added a concert to our bucket list.

I marveled at this amphitheater with it’s perfect acoustics which had been created naturally and I thought: redemption. I suspect that whatever caused those deep scars in the rocks was probably a tumultuous storm, but the result is mesmerizing and perfection.

red rocks

Red Rocks

Redemption. I treasure that word.

And I treasure my personal understanding of it: the way that He has repeatedly created a beautiful story of hope out of what initially felt like my world collapsing ❤

Here is a very silly video of our time at Red Rocks

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