June 15 will be a day that I remember. Maybe for the rest of my life.
A year ago today, I got that call. You know, the one that says you need to go to the hospital right now, because something is wrong.
I can remember each detail like it was yesterday, and like it was just some bad movie that I’ve watched way too many times. Except it wasn’t a movie, it was real.
About this time, a year ago, I had arrived home from the second hospital of the day, and crumbled into my waiting husband’s arms; uncertain of what tomorrow held, and knowing that life had forever changed, I couldn’t utter words. In his gentleness he just held me and said “I wish I knew what to say, I’m so sorry…”
Today as I drove across Iowa, I watched the sky, prayed, and reflected on what a year has meant. Cancer is a terribly scary word, and brain cancer, well, it just plain stinks. If you’ve ever walked through a Cancer diagnosis, then you know how scary a year ago today was.
Here’s the thing. Today as I reflected on a year ago today, it was so easy to see God’s hand each step of the way. Sometimes we are certain we are in the midst of a horrible storm as dark clouds surround us. And then we discover, it’s just a cloud. And even in the midst of that cloud, if we look closely, we can see tiny rays of light.
A year ago today, we were able to see God in a way we hadn’t before. I remember driving away from the hotel near the hospital where I had dropped dad off, and being alone for the first time. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to drive. I prayed and then took off. As I drove, I listened to voice mail. A high school friend, whose parents have been close all our life, called and said I don’t care what time it is, you call me as soon as you get this. I drove in silence for a bit and then called. Even though we hadn’t talked for months, she was the perfect person to talk to as I drove. Honestly, that conversation got me through a ride that I didn’t know how I was going to get through. Coincidence? I don’t think so; I think God sent her a just the right time because he knew what I would need.
Tomorrow is father’s day. A year ago on Father’s Day, I was up early and at the hospital for mom’s biopsy. I had googled (which I don’t advise) and was full of fear of what it might mean. As the surgeon visited with dad and I, his lack of eye contact and direct answer confirmed what my greatest fear was. He thought it was the bad kind. Strangely though, I found myself at peace. Trusting in God to do what only he could do, and strong in a way that I didn’t know I could be. (Well, until I got to my car that is:-)
As we enter the season of memories of a year ago, I’m amazed so much by how I see the blessings. Two families we knew were in ICU with loved ones, which made the long waiting room hours so much more enjoyable. Although we had to tell mom multiple times what was wrong, it was a blessing that we knew she couldn’t remember anything. We didn’t have to worry about her getting too upset until test results were back. And on and on.
The biggest thing, as I think about a year ago is this. Our faith in the Lord became so much more real in the past year. When faced with adversity, it’s amazing how the “head” knowledge you have becomes so tangible, so “oh this is what that means.” I have watched mom grow so much in her faith. I have seen her so at peace, and heard her say, if it is my time, then who am I to argue. I remember the night we had to shave her because her hair was falling out. Lying in bed that night Tom said to me – “I am so impressed by how good your mom is doing with all of this, she is really being so positive and has such a great attitude.”
I think of all the trips to the farm and to the doctors and the cancer center. While they were “time away” from the kids, it was a time of blessing for me as well. Time that I was able to be with mom and be an encourager. Time I wouldn’t trade, even for a brain cancer diagnosis. I think of the time Emma and I had a sleep over at Grandma’s so that dad could have a break and sneak in a fishing trip. We laughed and did toenails and just had a blast. Time we wouldn’t have spent if not for the Cancer. Really, I can’t tell you how many things I recall and think, if she hadn’t had Cancer, that wouldn’t have happened. Who knew that I would begin to see the blessing amidst this horrible disease?
A year ago, we heard the words Cancer, and our hearts skipped a beat. Today, I hear the word Cancer, and it still skips a beat. BUT, as I hear it today, I can see that just behind the cloud, even before it cleared, was this awesome ray of light.
Today as I drove, this cloud really spoke to my soul about a year ago. You see, if we pause just a bit, even from behind the cloud that is surrounding us, God will break through. And instead of seeing a cloud, with a bit of sun, we will see the sun, with just a bit of a cloud.
I don’t know if you are in the midst of a personal “cloud”. Maybe you have cancer, or someone you love has Cancer. Maybe you’ve lost someone to Cancer. Or maybe it’s not Cancer at all. Whatever it is that causing the dark skies, rest assured that there are rays of light even in the darkest of circumstances.
Our God is a redeemer and wants to lavish his love on us. A year ago today, I began realize anew what that love looks like. I would guess that we said a million times over the last year, I can’t imagine going through this without God. The good news is, we NEVER have to. He is always right there!
A year ago, I didn’t think that I would be sitting by my bonfire tonight typing and rejoicing that my mom is cancer free right now. Don’t get caught in the fear of tomorrow. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow!
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14