I wonder if this is what Cinderella felt like? Perhaps. For although I am wearing no glass slippers or looking for Prince Charming, I do have my very own fairy godmother, a dear and generous friend who made sure that I was able to attend the ball.
Tonight is the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance Gala, a swanky affair to raise money and awareness for the cause. Year before last, such an event wasn’t even on my radar; last year, I was in the chemo chair; this year is different. Very different. And I am as excited as a teenager, prepping for the prom.
I chose my gown with the same care I might have used when shopping for a wedding dress. The occasion is special, one which I have anticipated for several months. I stand looking at my refection in the mirror. I am a little older, and I carry a few more pounds than I’d like. My hair, once long, silky and straight, is curly, taking on a life of its own. I am thinking of wearing my wig. Quite frankly, I am not the woman I once was, changed by time and illness, but I am still here, by the grace of God. And grateful. When I think of adjectives I could use to describe myself, survivor tops the list. What a powerful word.
It is a little early for spring, and yet, we have had some unseasonably warm weather this week. I spent yesterday afternoon on a sunny patio, sipping margaritas with a friend. I had two stemmed cherries in mine, which sent my overactive imagination on a tangent, fueled, no doubt, by the tequila.
It is interesting how nature responds to a brief respite from the cold, and cherry trees are among the first to embrace the new growing season. Places like Washington, D.C.; Macon, Georgia; and Tokyo, Japan celebrate the beauty and fragrance of the blossom. And yet, even as the foliage puts on its show, the true transformation has not yet begun. Through a frenzy of activity, those flowers are cross-pollinated by the bees. Months later, fruit begins to form, and as it grows, each changes in color. But it is only in the final stages that it ripens, developing sweetness and flavor. The whole process of one becoming the other fascinates me. For indeed, a cherry with no stone is simply a beautiful blossom.
Human metamorphosis is much like that as well. Sometimes, life stalls, causing us to be dormant, frozen like the wintery cherry trees. And often, there are storms or disease, which threaten us. But the divine order of life, fueled by time and destiny, happens and the story unfolds as it was meant to be, the way it was written chapter-by-chapter. Experience changes us one way or another. And we must trust that God, The Great Author, is able to pen a unique tale for each of us, one, which will work for our good, and end happily.
Time brings about the fruit. And patience must precede the harvest during which there is much rejoicing and singing and dancing.
And so, as I apply my lipstick and prepare for the evening, I know that the biggest change in me is not on the outside, but in my heart, in how I view myself and my world. I am stronger and braver than I ever thought possible, a woman of faith. And, in truth, I am exceedingly optimistic about my days to come.
So tonight, I will sip champagne and eat cake. I will laugh with wild abandon, surrounded by a lovely group of amazing women. I will dance the night away in cute shoes that pinch my toes, staying out way past midnight. And I will celebrate the here and now, delighting in this moment.