The Journal Gazette
Sunday, October 27, 2019 1:00 am

Choosing selfless over selfish

Cancer battle forces a reexamination of priorities, leads to liberating decision to Live Free

Tamyra Kelly

Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people?

It took me getting breast cancer to help me realize I wasn't so good. Did cancer come to me because I wasn't good?

I'm not certain, but during the journey of breast cancer, I began to see myself from the inside out. I'm a professional woman, founder/executive director of Live Free, LLC, a great wife and mother, a minister, a psalmist, a motivator and encourager. But I realized in 2016, while in my breast cancer journey, that I wasn't all good.

I was well dressed, always had a smile and served in our community, but I needed to be better. Lying in bed after my sixth chemotherapy session, I began to have a talk with God.

I told him I wanted to be healed so I could see my children graduate from high school and college, see my grandchildren, travel the country and live life cancer free. God said, “Forgive, so you can Live Free.” At that point, I surrendered and chose to forgive and to Live Free; it was a choice!

Researching the causes of cancer, I've checked with the best oncologists in this country and found that many times stress is a leading factor.

I was full of unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, hurt and pain because of situations I've endured in this thing called life. We as women tend to enouncter circumstances, and we just keep right on moving as if nothing has happened.

I can't say I was “moving forward”; I was moving in circles, going round and round because I wasn't dealing with the bad stuff inside me. I was stuck in a place internally and although I told myself I was OK, I was lying because I was bound and stressed.

After that encounter with God, I began searching myself and ridding myself of things that weren't good for me. I had to make a choice to Live Free! I had to make a choice to face things differently.

This doesn't mean situations don't arise that anger, upset or frustrate me, but I've learned how to address them head on. I no longer let them fester, let negativity linger, allow negative people in my door or listen to naysayers. All I want is positive energy in my space. I want to be around people who can pour great things into my spirit and for whom I can do the same. I don't want to be selfish, but selfless.

If difficult things happen to you and you wonder why, as a good person, you have to endure them, I suggest you search yourself to see whether “things” have you in a place that could be holding you down. Sometimes God has to get our attention to slow us down so we can hear his voice and he can help us. Some of us need help, but we're so used to taking care of business for others we forget we need help ourselves.

Did the stress I was carrying for more than 17 years cause me to have breast cancer? I don't know for certain, but stress played a major role in my being unhealthy, broken, depressed and plain ol' miserable.

My big brother, Dr. Ernest Starks, was a former professor at Texas A&M when he passed away in 2016. He taught me many things. One was asking as he approached you: “How's your spirit today?”

So, I ask you, how's your spirit? Is it filled with anger, misery, negativity, hurt, unforgiveness? If so, I suggest you look on the inside and dig those things out, get to the root cause and get rid of things that aren't good for you, then make a choice to Live Free – and breathe! Breathe in a life of peace, joy and love for yourself and others. Then, you can ask yourself, “How is my spirit today?”

Tamyra Kelly is public information officer at East Allen County Schools.

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