Celebrating a tree called “HOPE”…

We are home now after nine wonderful days in Mexico – celebrating Christmas and spending quality time with my family. It was great to get away from the holiday madness and re-center.  It’s amazing how much peace is found in sunshine, waves and sand!  I had plenty of time for my family and quiet walks on the beach alone for reflection and prayer.  What a beautiful escape and respite between surgery and the next step in treatment, radiation.  It was hard to leave and get back to reality!

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” ~e.e. cummings

One of the highlights of the trip for all of us was ziplining over the rainforest canopy.   It was terrifying climbing the first set of stairs up the side of a tree but before I had time to think about it our guide smiled and gave me a push, “Bye, bye, Señora!” and I was screaming over the jungle!  Altogether there were 12 ziplines, all connected.  We arrived at the end of each, breathless and grinning, climbed another tree platform and took off again.  It was such a metaphor of life – the climb can be terrifying and challenging, but the ride is unexpectedly exhilarating and the view is unbelievable if you take time to stop being afraid and notice.

               “When your vision fills up with the greatness of God,  you become fearless.” – Kevin Miller

The happy bonus at the end of the day was the opportunity to plant a palm tree seed.  I love the idea of leaving a place better than we found it and planting a tree in the rainforest after an amazing day was so fulfilling.  Not only that, we each got to name the future tree we planted – I named mine HOPE.

I sent a note to the owners and managers of the zipline company (Selvatica Adventure Kingdom) to compliment the staff, thank them for a wonderful day and explain why planting a seed was meaningful to me.  They replied, in part, “That’s awesome!!!  You are in our thoughts and our prayers and we are sending you all the positive energy the jungle can muster.  PS – Hope is alive and growing by the second!”

Radiation starts next week.  January 4th I go for a practice run and start treatments on the 5th.  I’ll go five days a week for four weeks.  The next step is genetic testing and counseling – I’m taking it one day at a time and crossing each bridge as I get to it!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Juliet
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 02:41:37

    Just beautiful Gretchen — ♥♥


  2. Heidi
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 03:05:58

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. The Smith’s..


  3. Stacey
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 12:47:29

    God bless you, Gretchen. I’m looking forward to seeing “Hope” grow.


  4. Missey Selvatica
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 15:12:56

    I have to say you inspire me so much Gretchen! You are one of the biggest reasons I am so motivated to do as much as I can for this movement. I absolutely love that one little action can make such a difference for you. I truly mean it when I say that you are always in our thoughts and prayers. You have gained a new family that sends you all the positive energy in the world, and we hope that one day you can come back to see your tree Hope big and strong.
    I lost my mom to cancer and my aunt is a breast cancer survivor. I know that what you have to go through is very hard, but with all of us with you, you will come out of this ordeal just fine.
    Huge hugs from all of us at Selvatica, your Jungle Family.


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