a place of abundance

"we went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance" Psalm 66:12b

The Beginning of the End and New Beginnings May 18, 2011

Filed under: cancer,post cancer — vivmabuni @ 11:27 am

“When this madness ends, we must celebrate by visiting someplace amazing like Italy.” Dreams of visiting Italy would get sprinkled into our conversations and during the hardest, darkest times the hope of walking about the streets of some new place helped me to stay the course and finish treatment. Leila (of the Awesome Threesome) and I would pull up our frequent flier points and occasionally look on-line to see if there were any specials. I remember sitting bald and sitting in discouragement and sitting in pain and discomfort and Leila would cheer me up with visions of faraway places. We talked of visiting Charmaine in Florence and travelling by train to Toulouse to visit Donna or Paris where Jen was now living. We discovered there was a marathon in Rome.

But then life took over and the weeks and months blurred and the everyday swallowed up the opportunities to visit the amazing some places.

We knew we would be in Orlando the first weekend of March for the annual Synergy conference (incredible conference–a definite future blog). We were inviting our friends from all over to join us. We ended up with six of us making up what I affectionately termed “the California Cohort.”  Cohort. I love that word! So, Lisa, Loi, Sonia, and Joanna agreed to join Leila and me for a heart expanding, world-changing, eyeball lifting outside ourselves and onto God kind of weekend. And somehow our conversation turned to visiting Italy in the Epcot center. Afterall, “something was better than nothing.” We booked our flights so that we would arrive a day before the conference started. We would take in Italy AND France, and the Middle East, and oh, pretty much the whole world through Epcot.

The week before we left I was online and the tickets for the Epcot center were running $82. I couldn’t see paying that much money, so I started talking the whole experience down. “It’s okay. It’s too expensive. We don’t have to go. We can just hang out by the pool at the hotel or go to the mall and just relax before the conference begins.” I was trying to let my disappointment dispel by looking forward to the other good things that would be happening that weekend. Once again, pushing down my hopes, desires, wants, dreams.

But then Joanna (fellow Triathlon 2006 team member…blogged about the Triathlon we participated in on CaringBridge) connected with a friend in California who had a daughter that worked at Disney in Florida. Around 2 am the night we arrived we got a text from the daughter with news that since her boyfriend also worked at Disney that they could get all SIX of us in for FREE with PARK HOPPER tickets!!!


And so we giggled and floated our way through the Epcot center. No rushing about trying to squeeze everything in. We took our time. Lingered whenever we wanted. We hit Italy right at lunch time. Handsome Italian waiters with fun to pronounce names delivered $20 salads that we didn’t have any hesitation ordering.

After lunch, we headed over to Japan to use the restroom.

And as we came out we heard Taiko drums.

My heart started pounding. Tears starting forming.

We came to source of the amazing sound and saw this:

Three women Taiko drummers.

Most of you know what the Taiko drums signify (also blogged about it  in CaringBridge). Kierstin told me that Taiko drummers play at the finish line of the LA Marathon with the sound heard a mile away–long before they are in sight. Upon hearing that, Taiko drums came to represent the end of the marathon of cancer treatment. The women drummers were symbolic of the journey I have been on trying to figure out and embrace being created in the image of God as a woman, as an Asian American woman, as a warrior, as a leader, as a Christian. Those Japanese Taiko drummers displayed both feminine beauty along with a “don’t hold back, play with all your heart” kind of strength.

And now, here at just the right time, at just the right place, with just the right people, the Taiko drums played.

They played for me.

And we all stood there and wept.

God was speaking to my heart that the end of the wilderness time had come. The Israelites wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years. God provided manna for them to eat, their shoes did not wear out. It was a unique time but not the final destination. God did not intend that the Israelites live as nomad wanderers. He was clear from the beginning that Abraham would have the land. Moses was to lead God’s people to the promised land. Joshua and Caleb reported back about the land God promised and it was all that God said and more. The wandering time was a detour time. God redeemed that time. But the wandering was only for a time. The story did not end with walking in circles. And so, with my little life, I was reminded that the cancer, post cancer wandering time was not the ultimate destination.

And so right there in the Epcot center in Florida, in Japan, down the way from Italy, God sweetly, symbolically, in my heart language, showed me that it was time to take up arms and re-engage in battle.

Game on.

I have sought to be open to opportunities that have come up now that a new chapter is opening.

In one of my bags is the readmittance form to Talbot Seminary. There is an Orange County extension class about three miles from my house  that will meet once a week on Thursday evenings this fall and it seems to be part of the next steps. This cancer book idea keeps coming back around and around. Each time I dismiss it, another reminder comes up for why I need to follow through on at least trying. I have a soft deadline to have the book ready to be looked at by an editor and for next steps by August 15th. My life is not my own. So, once again, I yield and surrender. Be glorified in my life, O God.

Here is the California Cohort in front of the cool looking silver ball in the Epcot Center.

I somehow picture that when it is time for me to go home, Jesus will greet me at the finish line of my life playing Taiko drums. And I picture learning to play from Him and welcoming each of you into heaven playing the Taiko drums with reckless abandon.


18 Responses to “The Beginning of the End and New Beginnings”

  1. Joanna Chung Says:

    I LOVE this posting. It SO summarized God’s goodness at the end of a wilderness season of your life. In life, we are either in the wilderness, about to go in one, or coming out of one. It is reassuring to know that our Lord will never forsake us at any season of our journeys.

    I’m so glad to have been part of your journey then, now, and in the future.

    Love you,

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Jo, what a gift you are! Your love, encouragement, friendship and prayers helped sustain through the lows. So grateful for you and for our shared adventures 🙂 Looking forward to many, many more. Love and miss you!

  2. Melissa Niegocki Says:

    Hey Girl!
    Yesterday was so fun!!! However, we didn’t have enough time to get to it ‘all.’ So i loved reading this and getting more of the latest.
    Dont forget, with all this stuff, that you are also an amazing mom!!! Very loved and well needed.:)
    Looking forward to our next chat.

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Hey Beauty Queen, thankful for you and thanks for fun times and conversations that cover superficial things to the deep things of the heart…the whole range of the good and hard in sunshine and rain.

  3. jddoug17 Says:

    Thank you, Vivian, for writing this. I posted it on my FB. Sweet, powerful story.

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Judy, so honored and humbled that you would take time to read and comment and repost on my little ramblings. Your encouragement ministered to me today. Thank you so much.

  4. hg9 Says:

    thank you vivian. you made me cry when you described the moment about the 3 taiko drummers. this was so beautiful. I’m glad you are writing that book. I sat in the women’s center getting my own mammogram yesterday (they said they didn’t see anything!) and thought about you. So excited to see what unfolds in this AWESOME yet mysterious plan for your life Viv. You are more than just a surVIVor now. you are now a reVIVer. You have revived my soul today, thank you.

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Thanks for your encouraging words, Cathy! I will need to draw on them in the coming weeks and months as I embark on this new chapter. Hope to see you at either briefing or CSU. Love and hugs 🙂

  5. Jessica Sakauye Says:

    Sweet Viv…what a victorious moment. God is so sweet and tender as He speaks to the depths of our souls. I just love and am always inspired by your transparency in allowing us to see your reality. Wish I could have been there with you. Any chances you and Leila could come out to HI? Love and miss you always.

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Wonderful to hear from you, Jessica! I would love to visit you in Hawaii and I’m sure Leila would want to as well. You would have loved the conference and our Epcot world tour. Perhaps next year? Love and miss you and the whole family.

  6. Sandi Suganuma Says:

    Girl, I marvel and am inspired at the way you’ve grown over the years since the time we shared in Tahoe way back when. (BTW I took my kids there last year for a surprise visit and drove past our little CCC Village that is still there…such fond memories). You’ve got to write that book…you have a gift of being able to honestly communicate your heart in a way that moves people. Let God multiply your impact through the pages that you write. He will enable and supply you with what you need to carry it out.

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Thanks for your encouragement, Sandi! Yes, Tahoe was way back when. I think of you playing guitar and singing “if any man be in Christ, then he has become a new creation…” 🙂 I will hold onto your words as I lean into the Lord with these next steps. Prayers appreciated. Love you!

  7. Eileen Deskins Says:

    Viv, I love reading your adventures and prayers. Your heart for God is very evident in your postings. I think if the Lord has put on your heart to write a book then He will give you the words to encourage and inspire many hurting woman. I will pray that God reveal a plan to you and instruct you in the way you shall go. God bless you Viv. Some day I’ll make it back to CO to visit my Dad in Denver and we will hopefully meet up then! In Him, Eileen

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Eileen, it is wonderful to be in touch with you again! Thank you for your prayers and your encouragement. I hope our paths will cross again. Love, viv

  8. Grace Says:

    Yay! You’re coming back to Talbot! 🙂 I’m glad that the Orange County extension is so close to you! 🙂 I’m excited for you!

  9. Jeni Savig Says:

    Love this, dear Viv! The sweetness of our Savior running along side you, carrying you, cheering you on and then planning a victory feast at the end. Oh how you are loved! Thanks for giving us glimpses of your heart, faith, fears, victory and passion. Love you!

    • vivmabuni Says:

      Jeni, I am very much hoping to be able to give you an in person hug @ CSU soon! So thankful that despite the oceans, you were near. The Lord has used your words countless times to point me to Him. I love you.

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