Today marked the one week point since my first treatment. I went back for labwork, and everything looks good. My symptoms are minimal other than bone-deadening fatigue at times. And I am thankful.
Every time I walk into the cancer center it is like a punch in the face or the stomach; I haven’t decided which. There is so much sadness in that waiting area. So many older people who look as if they have no reason to go on. They are tired, they are gray, they are weak. I struggle because, in my mind, I don’t belong here. I am young, I am vibrant, I am strong. And I realize that as my chemo progresses, I will become more tired, more gray, and more weak… I cannot bear the looks of pity and sometimes shock that radiate across people’s faces when I walk into the lobby and sit. Reality is not easy to grasp sometimes.
As I sat and looked at the people around me this morning, there was one woman who came in and breathed fresh air into the room. She was older, completely bald, and walked with confidence. She smiled through her bright pink lipstick at everyone she passed, hugging a person here and there that she recognized, then sat down to watch the people around her. She brought something into that room–something that was missing. Hope.
It made me think and pray. A lot of things make me think these days. And I’m learning how to pray in a whole new way. My thought life often points me to Christ… today I thought about His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what was ahead of Him and He accepted His reality. He didn’t ignore it. He didn’t try to escape it. He didn’t run from it. He didn’t gloss over the darkness. He wrestled with it. He cried. He prayed for deliverance. Yet He bowed to God’s will. “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine…” Jesus knew His past, present and His future, and He had hope in His Father.
My reality is ahead of me, too; and it is absolutely nothing compared to what Christ endured on the cross for me. Yet it is real, it is hard, and it is lonely. Every time I walk into that lobby it is taking another step in acceptance for me. Yet every step is filled with hope. I can walk into the center and be the smile that people need… the head held high… the strength. But not because of me. Because of Christ and the living hope that He has given me. The LIVING hope.