Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Giving Up Selfishness

Many of you know that our 17-year-old daughter, Cindy, decided a few months ago to convert to Catholicism. The whys, hows and wheres are the topic for another post on a different blog. But suffice it to say that George and I are pleased that she's found a religion that begins with a "C" so that we can tell people we're the "ABC family" with an agnostic, a Baptist/Buddhist and a Catholic under the same roof. (Don't you just love diversity?)

At her confirmation class last week, she learned about Lent and the sacrifice of "giving up something" for 40 days. Over the years, my Catholic friends have given up concrete items like pizza, chocolate or Jimmy Choo shoes. I was a little confused when Cindy told us that she was giving up selfishness.

First of all, selfishness is an abstract concept. Second of all, isn't asking a teenage girl to give up selfishness like asking a tiger to give up its stripes or Britney to give up her hair? Er, scratch that last one. Let's say it's like asking Jacko to stop being weird for a few weeks.

After all, a 17-year-old girl is, by nature, a self-loving, self-centered, self-absorbed narcissist. We were convinced that ours, in particular, was a clinical narcissist.

But a miraculous thing happened on the way to the oncologist. Cindy is gradually losing ground from her position at the front and center of the universe. When I offer a ride, she often chirps, "No thanks, mom. I can take the bus." She's pitching in more around the house and following my new mantra (or "diatribe" as my family calls it), "This is a community affair, not a one-woman show!" She's choosing to spend more time with family. She's more aware of the effects her actions have on others. I don't know if it's the cancer or the Catholicism or a little of both, but I like this new, improved Cindy!

We're hoping that she becomes so accustomed to living without selfishness that it doesn't even seem like a "sacrifice" to her. And we hope the new selfless lifestyle will outlive both the Lenten season AND my recovery from cancer. And, while we're at it, I hope that all of the lessons we're learning as a family stick around for the rest of our lives.


SAMO Calling said...

Susan -
I finally got signed on here. I took a scenic route to getting on. . I've been reading your posts, and must admit, they're a good read. Seriously, you must consider publishing your blog at the end of this journey.

Well now, I've done my behind-the-scenes research on MCL to enlighten and calm myself. Seems that you're on a TEMPORARILY rocky road to recovery. I talked to people who've said very encouraging things about today's medicine with regards to MCL. So, don't pack away those bathing suits yet baby, you'll be back on the beach in no time.

So, what kind 'cados were you sharing??? Hass? PS: you spell avocados like must be under some drugs.

Lola's got 3 people going to RCIA classes in preparation for her baptism. So tell Cynthia she's going to have to share that holy water!

I'm not sure about my blogging comfort (it's soooo public), so bear with me as I break new ground.

Susan Carrier said...

You say avocados, I say avocadoes? Spellcheck didn't catch that one. I had to go straight to the grower's mouth and consulted the Hass website. You are right, my friend.

I will have to go back and edit my posts! (Hey, writer friends, out there. Were you being polite or did YOU think that avocados had "toes" too?)

I'm looking forward to attending Lola's baptism.

Diane Fisher said...

Hi Susan,
I have been so touched by your journal. You are truly making the most of your experience, and finding good in places I wouldn't have imagined looking. It is too bad that for some of us, it takes an illness or accident to wake us up to the beauty and love all around us. I'm not talking about you here! Your writings are also helping me to deal with my beloved brother's newly diagnosed cutaneous lymphoma, Sezary syndrome variety.

While in Phoenix last weekend, I attended a patient seminar sponsored by the Arizona Lymphoma Foundation. I learned a lot more about the disease in its various forms, and new treatments. I also met a lot of lymphoma survivors, some for over 10 years. They seemed to have a few things in common: courage, compassion, intelligence, active participation in their treatments, a total lack of self-pity, and a passionate love of life. You would have fit right in.

I love your blog. I look forward to checking it every day.

Love, Diane

Paula Johnson said...

Oh, I guess you did not read the fine print on the Atavan package. This drug may cause:
- extreme drowsiness
- napping
- intense desire to catch Z's
- prolonged snoozefests
- poor spelling, especially of words describing produce

Timothy said...

Greetings! Saw your post on Google...

Your daughter is very wise. Lent is a time of repentence and to fall in love with Christ. We should sacrafice that which is a barrier to our being fully in love with Christ. Seldom is pizza or candy a barrier to loving Christ.

Selfishness is a barrier to being in love with Christ. I was 47 before I ever grasped this concept. You should be proud to have a daughter who has chosen her Lenten sacrafice wisely.

God bless your family...

- Timothy

Susan Carrier said...

This has been quite a thread - from avocados and Atavan to information and inspiration.

SAMO Calling said...

So,how're you feeling? You haven't said lately. Do you have a weekend forecast?
Are you up to a visitor? I could give you a weak scrabble game, or just a visit over a cuppa. Or anything else you might like instead.

Dr. Meg Haworth said...

Hi Susan,
Carla told me about this blog and about you. I send you much hope, lots of love and peace in your heart as you embark on this unexpected pathway. I am so thrilled that Cynthia is doing so well and I expect you will prevail too! I will check in and I hope to see you some time soon! Best of all things to you. Meg

denise said...

Hey Ms. Susan,

I'm so sorry to hear/read you're feeling green around the gills. I have to say, you couldn't tell by your witty writing. You're hilarious !!!

I hope your gills turn purple in time for Sunday dinner. If not, no worries. We'll reschedule, even if it means sitting around while you lye in bed.

And as for Cindy, G-d bless, huh? Praying for Shane to have that "aha" moment.

Talk to you soon.