It has been an inexpressibly difficult year. I have been trying to write a post for two weeks, but have been unable to distill my thoughts, emotions, fears, and hopes into words. But here goes. First, Adam is fine…or at least as fine as a person can be when they are in the midst of six months of chemotherapy. He hates it, he wants to quit, he knows he can’t, and did I mention that he hates it? It’s horrible. Awful. And that is just the beginning. Not for us: by God’s grace, treatment should be the end of cancer for us. I pray the doctors are correct and it is so. But it’s the beginning of what is weighing on me. And those other stories are not mine to tell. The personal catastrophe of a family member, the devastating loss of beloved friends, plus the everyday struggles of living in world that is showing itself particularly broken these days. So I think back to my story of brokenness as I try to cope with the brokenness around me. I’ve now had time to let the day cure in my memory and maybe my perspective will be fuller. I don’t know. I just know that I have to put words to the pain or it stays and festers.
I remember telling everyone sitting in the waiting room that it wasn’t good. The news, that is. Adam was still sedated, though he’d be coming out of the anesthesia for the next few hours. But I already knew that God’s answer to many of our most fervent prayers was “no.” No, this is not all you must endure. No, he will not escape chemo and radiation. No, he will not have a normally functioning digestive system. No, you don’t know if he is safe. I was so crushingly sad. And angry. And confused. And just…lost. A friend told me that it was okay to feel that way. He mentioned that in my place, his wife would be throwing chairs out of the window. I remember thinking of the word defenestration at the time, because I’m random like that. Can one defenestrate a chair? So I cried and I…I really don’t remember what else I did. The next few days telescope for me. They were interminable at the time, but in my memory, they pass in a blur. My fears were subsumed by the need to be there for Adam and to be okay for him. This was his medical tragedy, my relational one. All my problem solving skills were useless. All I could do was be there. And I never hated God. Why not? I keep thinking that such a reaction would be in keeping with my…me-ness. But while I know, and knew then, that He had the power to answer our prayers differently and He chose not to, my soul submitted to that without a fight. I don’t do anything without a fight. But where else is a lost person to go? If I turned from God, I would never not be lost again. So pain…yes. But, by God’s grace, I was never defeated. More than conquerors indeed.
I cannot tell anyone how to deal. The words of the songs “Be Still My Soul” and “Abide With Me, Fast Falls the Eventide” give me comfort, though they also make me sad. But that is me. God deals with us as and where we are, and we cannot assume that the things that mean so much to us will affect others in the same way. So I try to refrain from telling anyone what to do. But I pray that those who mourn will be comforted…. And I pray that God uses my words for good and not for evil; even savage truth is beautiful because it points us to Him.