March 12, 2021

Joyful Witness / Kimberly Pohovey

Perspective helps us see ourselves, others in a new light

Kimberly PohoveyAs the summer months transition to fall and the temperatures become chilly, 50 degrees suddenly feels rather cold to us. However, when winter subsides and transitions to spring, we welcome that same temperature of 50 degrees as a major warm-up. It’s all about our perspective.

Perspective enables us to see situations, issues and even people in a different light based on our experiences and knowledge, or that of others. Seeing from another’s perspective helps open us to greater understanding. There are more than 7.5 billion people in the world, and each person thinks and sees differently.

The ability to reframe a situation is an important skill that can transform our own life, or our world.

If you’ve been reading my column in recent months, you are aware of my cancer diagnosis. I shared that information not to draw attention to myself, but hopefully to resonate with readers who have faced a similar struggle—which is always my prayer prior to writing each column.

My prognosis remains quite positive, and my treatment plan is as good as I could hope for, given that I have cancer. Still, there have been days when the physical and mental fatigue has gotten to me. I try to remain positive and trust in God’s plan. However, being enormously tired makes it difficult to think outside of my situation. That’s when God intervenes and provides a different perspective.

Many times, when I enter the Cancer Center at Franciscan Hospital for my radiation treatments, I find myself walking behind another cancer patient. One day, I followed behind a woman who limped and was obviously having a difficult time breathing as she huffed and puffed in the cold air. When we were both situated in the waiting area, I asked if she was OK.

We struck up a conversation, and she shared that her asthma is bad in the winter. Sadly, she also shared that her husband passed away the year prior, and because of the pandemic, she can’t regularly see her children and grandchildren. Seemingly, she is facing cancer alone.

I have witnessed quite a few elderly patients in the Cancer Center. I have seen patients in wheelchairs or walking with canes. Many have bald heads as a result of the ravages of chemotherapy. Quite a few patients have difficulty walking down the hall to the treatment room, and staff members tell me it is hard for them to make it onto the treatment table, much less hold their breath for some treatments.

The one who got to me, though, was a nurse whom I met for my weekly check-up. After taking my necessary vitals, she shared with me that she is battling lung cancer—for the second time—and it is stage four. She recently finished radiation and is currently undergoing immunotherapy to treat her cancer. And, she couldn’t have been more jovial, caring and kind. She said she is at peace with her diagnosis. It was such a gift to speak to her. It offered me a new perspective on handling my own cancer with more grace.

I’ve prayed for all these cancer patients I have encountered. However, the gift of perspective has allowed me to see their suffering, while checking my own feelings of self-pity. I have been most blessed to have so many family, friends, co-workers and online acquaintances praying for and checking up on me. However, greater perspective had me pondering how many people, cancer patients or otherwise, have no one to pray for them.

So this Lent, I decided to pray several times a day for all those in our world who have no one to pray for them. While I sincerely hope my prayers mean something to God, I also know that each prayer helps me better understand others’ situations. It’s all about my perspective.
 

(Kimberly Pohovey is a member of St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis. She is the director of major and planned gifts for the archdiocese.) †

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