In June 2013, Laurie Foley was 11 months into her journey with ovarian cancer. She thought she would have been done with the treatment by then. She was bored and frustrated with the chemo and surgeries and found that her faith had been challenged by her whole experience. She describes it as being on a canoe trip and being in the middle of a long, flat lake – nothing to do but to keep paddling with no sense of being carried and no end in sight. She wanted to know, “Where was God in all this? Where was God on this long, flat lake?”
She got an inspiration to write a meditation a day for a month – to sit and listen and write. That sounded good to her. Her faith had been an important part of her life for a long time and she loved writing her blog for her business. And then she got the inspiration to share it on Facebook. While she loved sharing her writing for her business and even a blog about her experiences with cancer, she wasn’t sure about sharing something so deep and personal about her doubts and fears about God and her whole connection to him.
Guided by her intuition or God (she wasn’t sure what to call it), she spent time every day in July sitting quietly, contemplating what was coming up, writing it out and sharing it on Facebook. Listen as she shares what she learned (and it wasn’t what she expected) and how the experience is still with her today.
In this interview, Laurie shares:
- how she was inspired to start this practice.
- how she defines the Big C (surprisingly it’s not cancer).
- her vision of God before cancer and how that vision was challenged.
- how scary it was to share her faith publicly (including being honest about all her doubts).
- why she only committed to the practice for a month and the relief in having that limit.
- the new question that eventually replaced her search for answers to “Where is God?”
- how the whole process was “gloriously imperfect.”
- how she learned to not judge her writing and just show up and put it out there.
- how she approached each day’s practice.
- her connection to the story of Jonah and the whale.
- the gratitude she found all around her during her experience.
- how people reacted to her Facebook posts.
- the motivation of knowing people expected to hear from her every day.
- what shifted for her in that one month of practice.
- how that shift has stayed with her.
- her advice to anyone interested in doing something similar.
- that letting go of the outcome is an important piece of the process.
- her gratitude for social media as a way to have substantial, civilized discussions about faith.
Resources to Connect with Laurie:
- www.lauriefoley.com – Laurie’s website
- Laurie’s blog on caringbridge.org about her experience with ovarian cancer
- Laurie on Facebook
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Have you ever used a daily practice to explore a burning question? Or do you have a question now you’d like to explore thorough a daily practice like Laurie did? I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below.