I've been stewing over something for the past few weeks and wanting so desperately to write about it but not finding the words to put it all together. I've always been writer. From an early age, I found a calm and peace inside by writing down my thoughts and allowing the pencil or pen to organize and settle my emotions. As a teenager, I wrote through most all my problems in notebooks and legal pads. Oh what I'd give to have them back - I threw them all away because of the insane jealousy and insecurity of my first husband while we were dating. I guess I should have tossed him out instead... I digress.
When I talk to people about what I write here, they are so amazed at my transparency. I guess the fact that I am fairly forthcoming and honest about my emotions is different. I don't know... that's just me. I do hide certain things about myself. I'm certainly not going to air my darkest secrets here or in casual conversation. I do have some sort of a filter. But, once I choose to share something, I just don't feel the need to be coy about it. Just say what you mean, and mean what you say. The past few weeks have been a struggle for me. There's been something going on that's way too personal. Way too painful and frightening to just blog about. I can't seem to even talk about it to the people I talk to all the time so freely about other things.
On a random weekday morning around 11:20, as I sat down to slap on some makeup and head back out to pick up a couple of gifts, the phone rang. It was my dad. I figured he was making his annual call to see if I knew any ideas for my mom for Christmas. I wish it had been that simple. He wanted to let me know that there were a couple of areas of concern in my mom's last scan - one spot on her spine which looked incredibly suspicious, and then some fluid in the left lung, the cause of which was uncertain. If a plane due to land at the Shelby County airport just a few short miles from my house had dropped from the sky and into my living room, I would have been no less shocked than when I heard those words come from his mouth. It's been nearly four years since she was cleared, and I guess as the time went on and on, I just assumed the odds got smaller and smaller that it would come back. Or, that's what I wanted to believe, at least.
I remember where I stood and what I was doing when my dad called me that November day in 2005 to tell me my mother had cancer. I was going about my daily duties, pulling wet clothes from the washer and hanging items in every available spot to dry in the air instead of the heat of the dryer. I think about it often as I do the same chore... what was said, my disbelief, how it changed everything. And here we are again.
It's hard to put into words how it feels when your mom has cancer. Especially when your mom has lived as pure a life as mine. She's never been a drinker or smoker or medicine taker. She's done it all right. She's kept her weight in check and stayed active enough to be considered healthy. It's not like cancer ever makes sense, but I could understand it a lot more if it were to happen to a chain-smoking, whiskey drinking brute. But my mom?
I used to think God was confusing, hard to wrap my mind around, and untouchable. But the older I get and the more I experience of this world, the more I realize that God is not confusing at all. He's the only thing that really makes any sense to me any more. He never changes. He never falters. He does all he says he'll do. It's this world and all it's contents that fail and cause confusion. This world we live in, with all it's sickness and heartache and disappointment, is the source of pain and confusion. And we are not promised an earthly understanding or reward, but rather one far greater than anything we could attempt to wrap our brains around here.
My mom's prognosis is great. She was so blessed to have a fairly miraculous chain of events that led her to a very early finding of the cancer's remnants in her body. She fought before. She will fight again, and hopefully this time around will not be as difficult for her. Her oncologist has said that the medicine needed this time is not nearly as toxic and its side effects will not be as severe. But it's still my mom. And I still would like to take it out of her and put it into me and deal with it for her. But that's impossible.
So I am left to try to find a way to deal with it all. To make sense of it in my mixed-up head. I came across a verse from my favorite Book of the Bible - Romans. I can't tell you how many times I've read it. I could read it over and over again and find something new every time. But this is what stood out to me last week:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (15:13)
Joy. Peace. Trust. Despite of the world's circumstances. Hope. Not just hope, but an overflow of hope. I don't know about anyone else, but the word overflow just delights me. It means more than enough. Too much to measure. It means that hope will spill out of me and spread itself around. I would love to ooze hope.
So, this is my plan for today. And the day after. And so on and so forth. I will trust that my God has my dear mother in His hand. And I will remember that our hope lies in more than just some doctor's treatment of a horrible disease. It lies beyond the confusion and disappointment of this world. It lies in Him.