“We have the results from your recent biopsy. It’s malignant.”

I didn’t expect to hear those words, especially in my mid-30s while driving my sister’s SUV loaded with kids, her youngest whining that he couldn’t hear Big Bird. The nurse on the phone delivered the message with the same measure one would use with a hurried grocery list, as if she couldn’t wait to move on with her next phone call and get to the patients for the day. And all this occurred while my mind still reeled from dropping off my autistic six-year-old at her special needs school.

Before I could wrap my mind around her announcement, the nurse rattled off that I’d meet with a surgeon next week. Then she proceeded to rush on with the pertinent details, not even pausing when I asked her to slow down — I was driving and needed to repeat the information to my sister, who was thankfully in the car with me.

I hung up the phone and stared out the window. My reaction surprised me. I didn’t panic the way I’d always envisioned. Of course, I’d always thought I’d get a diagnosis such as that while in a doctor’s hushed office, clutching my husband’s hand. In fact, I preferred it this way; I like to read the ending of books first, after all, and at least I didn’t have to wait and worry about the unknown after getting one of those “You need to come in and see the doctor” phone calls.

In the moments after that call, my life seemed to shift, or perhaps it was my focus. Just like on of those “figure and ground pictures” {http://www.turnyourhead.com/psych.php} (one of them shows a vase in the forefront but a woman’s face in the background), my life shifted focus.

Suddenly my dirty carpet and needing-to-be-stained deck didn’t matter. My too-small breasts and too-large backside seemed unimportant. My to-do list of meaningless chores faded. I thought about what was important: my Lord, husband, children, family, friends, people. I also took more notice of the beauty around me — the amazing cardinal nesting in one of my trees, my daughter’s eyes, my dog’s shiny fur. The rest faded to the background.

I know little about the diagnosis and won’t know more until I meet with the surgeon in a week, but that little word “malignant” has given me an opportunity to refocus where I spend my time, mentally and physically.

I have a chance to realign my priorities and learn what God deems as important.

We all have no guarantee of today or tomorrow. I must make the most of today: to live for God and to love others.

Until next time, sisters. Pray for me, and I will pray for you.