They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The picture you’re looking at isn’t as simple as a couple standing in front of their new RV. It’s not that straightforward. When I look at this picture, there are a few words that stick out to me. I see growth, opportunity, strength, blessings, courage, and resilience to name a few.

This picture should have been taken about seven months ago. Following the picture, my parents would have embarked on their first, long road trip across the continental U.S. They’d avoid the large cities, pop in and out of RV parks, send their children pictures of their stops and adventures. They’d finally make it to their destination to visit a friend in Idaho.

An adventure of a lifetime in a house on wheels to avoid the pandemic.

God had other plans, however. Not long after the RV shopping began, my mom, the rock of the family, was diagnosed with lung cancer. The world as we knew it felt like it was spinning out of control on its axis, and we weren’t sure where it would land. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure they’d ever get to buy their RV. It’s funny how life can change in a simple doctor’s visit. I guess it wasn’t so simple.

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When you find out a loved one has cancerand lung cancer, of all cancerstheir life flashes before your eyes. Every single moment from the time you can remember up until that day rolls by as if you’re watching it through old films on a projector on mute. Your mind goes into overdrive and you wonder if this is it. You’ll second guess every moment you’ve spent with them and wonder if it was enough. Should I have stayed a little bit longer for coffee? Should I have been more engaged when we were at this or that gathering?

You can run through all of the what-ifs, should’ves, and could’ves if you want. Or you can take the bull by the horns and charge forward. That’s what my mom did, and we, her family, followed suit.

She took God’s challenge and ran with it. She’s run with it so fast we could hardly keep up.

Following the diagnosis, my mom started chemo treatments, scans, and saw progress on those scans. The cancer is shrinking and chemo continues. She’s not finished with this hurdle God threw in her way, no. There is still chemo in her future, more scans, and potentially surgerywe don’t know the full plan at this stage.

What we do know, however, is the road she’s on now, and where it’s leading. I can tell you exactly where it’s leading. Soon it’ll lead north, and swing west across the plains of North Dakota. It’ll venture into Big Sky Country before it hits the mountains in the west. Those mountains will lead them into Idaho.

There will be laughs and frustration in between as the couple in the picture navigate the rural roads to avoid the big city traffic. There will be goofy pictures sent and witty texts exchanged with their kids as they learn the ropes of RV life and dumping their black water tank. They’ll capture the beauty of places they haven’t been to before. They’ll drive their little pull behind purple Jeep on hairpin turns their RV couldn’t handle.

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Finally, they’ll navigate a different route home, seeing more sights on their carefully laid out road trip and begin planning for the next one.

So, you see, a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture can tell you of the journey it took to stand in front of this RV.

While they thought it was a simple point and click in the beginning, they learned they had a battle to win first. This picture is to show they are winning that battle, and while they’ll continue to fight, they’ll venture forward to continue making memories with each other. Because 43 (official) years just hasn’t been enough time.

I could post just this picture, and you wouldn’t know the story behind it. But now you do. A story of fight, strength, resilience, and charging forward. I could give you a thousand more words, but those are just to name a few of my favorites to describe this picture.

Originally published on the author’s Instagram page

Ashley Daniels

Ashley is a stay-at-home mommy to three young boys. She enjoys coffee by the potful, preferably lukewarm, using the bathroom on her own, and moments of silence in quick, 5-minute increments. Ashley enjoys writing in her free time, allowing her the ability to reflect and to be grateful for the life she's been given. You can follow more of Ashley's writings at https://sheramblesandshewrites.wordpress.com/