this has been a trying week. i’ve received calls and texts about violence in my hometown, about friends in hospital battling all manner of illness, and family members awaiting a prognosis. life was happening whilst i was luxuriating at a resort, drifting from one spa treatment to another, from the whirlpool to the sauna. what i realized upon receipt of a text that a dear friend was rushed to emergency is that we are all one breath away from crisis. we don’t know when, where, or how but we can be certain that a challenge has our name on it. so what do i do in the meantime?
james 4:14 says, whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. and indeed, that is true. we have little control over our lives and the outcomes. we have no idea what minions have setup shop in our bodies from one annual exam to the next. as women it seems that cancer of many forms is the hunter and we are its prey. the arrow strikes the woman next to us or behind us but it narrowly misses us and we think, i’ll keep running, i can outfox this formidable foe. but we don’t know what causes it, how to prevent it, or how to keep it from returning. sadly, some of us avoid all physicians: dentists, ophthalmologists, gynecologists, assuming that if we don’t know we don’t have to address it. as black women we do not have the luxury of dismissing doctor appointments. historically and genetically we are stricken with heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer at a higher rate than women of other races. we do not exercise, the drive-thru is our grocery store, and organic is too expensive for our budget.
while i am not the picture of perfect health, i am health conscious, workout 3-4 times a week, and make every effort to prepare meals at home, avoiding fried foods and starches and adding leafy green veggies to every meal. when i hear that one of us has had a heart attack or we are taking pills for high cholesterol, my first thought is, when was the last time we visited a physician? and my second thought is, the health enemy we are facing is one we can defeat.
as a single woman, my concerns are multi-faceted: will i fall out in my home and no one will know until days have passed and i didn’t appear at work? will i go in for my latest check-up and receive troubling news that i am left to process alone? will i get the call that terrifies me most: that one of my parents has closed their eyes forever this side of glory? these are real fears that very few are willing to discuss, yet we freely chatter about the political climate, the latest shooting, stabbing, murder here and abroad and brush aside the shadow that lurks behind each of us.
sisters, i encourage you to take charge of your healthcare. own it. do not wait for your annual exam. do not assume that a medical doctor is the only option. explore naturopathic and ayurvedic medicines. clean up your diet little by little. replace soda with water. coffee with herbal tea. fast food with a salad. week over week, month over month. you owe it to your family, to yourself to feed your body with what it needs to heal itself naturally. pills and potions often treat symptoms and never address the root causes of disease.
we have no way of knowing when a tragedy will befall us. our minds are running at mach 1 about work, finances, family, bills, car repairs, all things that threaten to steal any moments of pleasure we may have found. rather than brace for the impact of a life altering moment i savor laughter, friendship, hugs, and smiles. i do my best to walk by faith, to recognize my stress triggers, to release my frustrations through prayer, and to trust God for the rest. find what works for you and don’t delay. make your health a priority. focus on living a stress-free life and cherish the moments that give you joy.