It All Makes Sense Now

While at the grocery store this morning I saw a woman wearing a pink bandanna on her head and a pink breast cancer bracelet on her wrist. I was drawn to her – being of the same sisterhood and all – but I debated whether or not I should say anything. Then I remembered when I was obviously going through treatment and how it made me feel when women would come up to me and tell me it would get better.

So I walked up to her and said, “Excuse me. Are you a breast cancer patient?” She said she was and when I told her I went through what she’s going through two years ago she lit up. She grabbed my hand and looked me over and said, “Oh. You look wonderful!” Instead of my usual, “Oh, please. I need to lose about 50 pounds and I feel like I look much older than I am,” I just said thank you.

We chatted a little bit about chemotherapy and what her side effects have been. After a few more treatments she’ll start radiation, though she wants a break in between so she can enjoy the beach just a little this summer. In her words, “Even if I can just feel the sand between my toes and smell the salty air. I don’t need to get a tan.”

We said the usual, “nice talking with you,” thing you say when you’ve been chatting with a complete stranger. And then she grabbed my hand again and said, “Thank you so much for talking to me. I’ve been feeling discouraged and you were just the encouragement I needed.” I patted her hand and told her it was my pleasure.

And as I walked away I realized this is what it’s all about. I’m not going to touch the masses. But because of my experiences I’m going to make a difference – even a teeny tiny one – to a select few women over the course of my life. And there are a select few women who have and will make a difference for me.

23 Comments

  1. Rowena on May 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Awww Jen,This was a great post, one that really made my day. You don’t need to touch the masses sweetie, you touch more people than you know with your words everyday! =)HUGS!

  2. Monnik on May 30, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Jen, this is awesome. You clearly made her day, and I’m sure she’ll remember your kindness for a long time.Very cool.

  3. Terri on May 30, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    How many times do we think of speaking and decide not to, how many blessings do we miss from keeping to ourselves…. God places people in our path that need a word of support, understanding, validation, whatever – to bless us; and too many times we miss those opportunities because of our own reasons. You stepped out in faith this time, and got a blessing as well as gave a blessing. It will be easier the next time God places someone in your path – and you will make a difference one person at a time. She will remember you when she sees a woman going through treatment. And she’ll take that step of faith – a never ending circle. And like rowena says, you touch many people every day!

  4. Katybug on May 30, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Jen, that is exactly how I felt when I was going through infertility. Any time I was able to be that shoulder someone needed made it worth it all. And I think you’re probably touching more people than you know. My life would be so different if I hadn’t met you, even though it’s only through cyberspace. :-)Katy

  5. Colorado Writer on May 30, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    Wonderful story. Sorry I’ve been MIA.Had my 2nd mammogram and u/s in 3 months, but FINALLY got an all clear.Thanks for sharing with us. I can’t imagine the strength you must have to get up and deal each and every day!

  6. Em on May 30, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    Sometimes I think we don’t realize when we touch someone. Today you reached out and made a difference and you knew it. Good for you. Your gesture made someone else feel much better today.

  7. Jenster on May 30, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    Rowena – Thanks, hon. You’re such a sweetheart!Monnik – It was cool!Terri – I wonder how many opportunities I’ve let slip by. I’m glad I didn’t today. :o)Katybug – We all have something to give. And I love my cyberfriends! lolCW – I’m sorry for your scare but very glad it’s all okay!!Em – The funny thing is it made ME feel much better, too. :o)

  8. radioactive girl on May 30, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    You said you won’t touch the masses, but you do every single day. This is exactly how a person makes a difference…one person at a time. I love this story!

  9. danahollis on May 30, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Ah… you are more precious than you even know. ;)HUGS!Dana

  10. Jenster on May 30, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    Radioactive – I suppose it depends on your definition of “masses”. lolDana – That’s what I want you to think. :o)

  11. Mary Reed McCall on May 30, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Aw, man, you just made me cry (in a totally happy way).Good for you Jen! (And I’ll bet the difference you made for that woman wasn’t as teeny tiny as you think it was… 🙂 )Hugs,Mary RM

  12. Judye on May 30, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    Jen, your story brought tears to my eyes. I am so proud of you. Like I said before-your testimony is awesome.You not only blessed yourself, but that lady and all of us.thanks for being you. Jb

  13. CindyS on May 30, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    I’m so glad that you reached out to her – it’s these kind of stories that remind all of us that we do have something to offer a complete stranger. You got me all misty eyed ;)CindyS

  14. Swishy on May 30, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Jen! I got chills! Good for you for saying something to her. I think we all get feelings to talk to people sometimes, and it’s hard not to talk ourselves out of it because it seems dumb or whatever. YAY for you for not doing that! You rock.

  15. Burg on May 30, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    It’s funny how God knows where to put us and when.. What a blessing you were to her! And you’ll be blessed for it as well.. Good work!

  16. Lori on May 31, 2007 at 12:13 am

    Jen, that was a wonderful thing you did. You do make a huge difference.

  17. Dorky Dad on May 31, 2007 at 12:47 am

    That is absolutely fantastic! You just never know when opportunities like that happen, and it’s great that you decided to go talk to her.

  18. April on May 31, 2007 at 1:26 am

    I’m glad you didn’t miss the opportunity. I have let that happen before and regreted it. What an encouragement you are to us all. Keep looking to Christ friend.

  19. radioactive girl on May 31, 2007 at 8:55 am

    I guess what I mean by you touching the masses is that by writing about this, people read it, and it doesn’t just stop there. All the time I repeat things people have written on blogs to other people, so it is like a chain. I read the blog, I tell someone, they tell someone, etc. People may not remember something came from you, but your words are being spread more than you know. (Not trying to freak you out, I mean “you” as in everyone who blogs, not just your blog specifically)

  20. Jenster on May 31, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Mary – Thanks for visiting my blog. (Hey everyone! It’s a real, honest to goodness author!!)Judye – I don’t know how to be anyone else. LOLCindy – It’s like that insurance commercial – when we’re nice to others it comes full circle.Swishy – I TOTALLY rock on Guitar Hero!!!Burg – I was blessed just talking to her. It made me feel so good. :o)Lori – Thanks. I think we all make a big difference – it’s just hard to see sometimes.DD – I know I would have been kicking myself if I hadn’t said anything.April – HE is my strength. :o)Radioactive Girl – Yeah. I know what you mean. Like ripples on the water when you throw a pebble in. It’s just one little pebble, but the ripples reach farther than that pebble will ever know.

  21. Eileen on May 31, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    This is such a beautiful post, and says so much about what humanity is all about. It takes so little to make such a difference in a persons life. You made her whole day, with your kindness and gentle soul. You took a risk and reached out and that my friend made all the difference in her world. I admire you and appreciate your warm, loving being.

  22. Jenster on June 1, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you, Eileen. :o) She made my day, too. Funny how that works!

  23. Jodi_Lee on June 1, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    Isn’t it amazing when we realize we really are one of billion cogs in this well oiled machine called life and we all have a purpose. Whether our purpose is small or big it is important and vital to the whole crazy thing. 🙂

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