according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body,whether by life or by death.
I keep waiting for the headline that reads in bold… SHE CHANGED HER MIND!
However, now I fear that all the hype of the event might lead her to follow through… despite her small smidgen of doubt that I know is there.
What is living?
As I type this my wrists and my forearms are swollen and bulging with inflammation and the blood veins in my hands and arms feel as if they are drawing up inside of me as they seem to grow before my eyes and I watch knots build up in my hands and up my arms and into my shoulders and neck and both my legs have gone to sleep and yet ache at the same time while my veins crawl inside the calves of my legs and stinging electric like shock shoots into my hips… and for this there is no cure.
At least once every week my youngest daughter asks me if my hands are going to turn in like the pictures she sees at the doctor and all I can say is I don’t know…
Yet at the same time, my Dad is fighting lung cancer… my sister-in-law is fighting liver cancer… and my father-in-law is fighting bladder cancer… and my dear friend is fighting ovarian cancer… and I have a hard time complaining about my non-life threatening quirky aches and pains.
Just tonight we went to visit with my in-laws. My father-in-law got up to go to bed and my youngest ran into the hall to hug him. She turned around with the biggest smile and said, “I got a stand up hug!” It has been seven months since she got a stand up hug from her Papaw… and she knew it.
A year ago this month, one of my childhood friends received her healing in eternity. Melanoma took her into the presence of the Lord. When my friend’s Pastor asked her how she wanted him to pray, she said “Pray that God will allow me to live every day that I am supposed to…”
I watched my friend grow worse with each visit. I also watched her son crawl up in his mother’s lap and pat the the side of her face that held a growing tumor and smile as he said something about it to his mother and saw her smile at him the best that she could. Would it have been less physically painful for her, less emotionally stressful for the family had she chosen to die before the treatments took her hair and the tumors grew outside of her jaw? Perhaps. But had she done that… she would have missed so many hugs… so many smiles… so many prayers.
Her family would have missed that many more laughs… In one of my visits with her she was making jokes about her mother trying to force miralax down in her so her bowels would move and she just flat out was not going to drink anymore of the nasty stuff. She was with us, all of us until the end. The depth of who she was never left her, cancer couldn’t destroy the intrinsic value of the beautiful uniquely wonderfully and fearfully made soul that God created.
My sister-in-law was first diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat it. Then she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She beat it… to return for a routine follow up scan to discover that she now had liver cancer. That was thirty-five months ago. She could give up. She could. But instead she has chosen to believe that each day that she is given by God is a gift. Each day brings a possibility that a cure could be found. Each day brings the possibility that the next scan shows that the cancer is gone. Each day brings the possibility that someone will make her smile. Each day brings the possibility that God will use her to make someone else smile. Each day is another day that she makes a memory. Each day is a day that she has to glorify her God.
My Daddy fights. I am so glad that he fights. This past weekend we went to the mountains. My girls got to have their picture made with their Papaw Wayne at the same tree that I had my picture made with him many times. They got to hug him. They got to laugh with him. They got to make memories. The last PET scan revealed the cancer was gone in his lower back and was dying every else in his body. What if when my Daddy got the prognosis that the cancer had spread from his collar bone to his tailbone he decided to say it’s everywhere and there’s no hope? THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE!
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
What is living?
Is living supposed to be pain and trouble free or it’s not worth it? Is living only living if we don’t have to depend on the help and strength of others? Is living only living if we look young and beautiful and have all of our faculties about us?
This is what I don’t understand… the “supporting” family. I am jealous for every single moment of time that God will give me. I am jealous for every hug, for every smile, for every offhanded remark, for every possibility of a sunrise. I am holding on to the hope that a cure is around the corner, that Christ is on the brink of return, that the doctors, SHOCKING I KNOW, might, just might, be wrong. They are not God after all.
There are times that I sit and curl up next to my husband… he doesn’t have to say a word or do a thing… I just want to feel the warmth of his body next to mine and lay my head against the rise and fall of his chest as he breathes and weave my fingers in between his… because his very presence is important to me. There is no way, I tell you NO WAY, that I would look at him, still appearingly in pretty good health regardless of what disease lay ready to destroy him within and say, Yes baby, just go ahead and go on now. I don’t need any of those weak feeble smiles and I sure have no desire to actually fulfill that “in sickness” part of those vows. I mean really, we’ll be fine. See you on the other side one day.
There is no way. I would be on my knees begging him to reconsider. BEGGING HIM for one more day, just one more hug, just one more kiss, just one more time to lay down beside him and feel the warmth of his body against mine.
If this was my child… it’s unimaginable. There is no way I could set a date for her death. Why not simply say, let’s just deal with today… let’s not worry about tomorrow. Today let’s live. And tomorrow, if we awake, it is now a new today, and today we will live and we will love. Today.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12