When my hubby and I were dating and throughout our early marriage, there was a Steven Curtis Chapman song that we used to encourage each other. I wouldn’t necessarily call it “our song”, because, well, Bri and I aren’t “our song” kind of people. It was a promise that we made to each other through music. We would be there to shield each other whenever life caved in on us. Little did we know how often we would be held to that promise.
When you are a soldier I will be your shield
I will go with you into the battlefield
And when the arrows start to fly
Take my hand and hold on tight
I will be your shield, ’cause I know how it feels
When you are a soldier
When you’re tired from running
I will cheer you on
Look beside you and you’ll see you’re not alone
And when your strength is all but gone
I’ll carry you until you’re strong
And I will be your shield ’cause I know how it feels
When you’re a soldier
I realized this weekend that I’m in need of some carrying. I have little strength left to fight this continual battle. I am tired of hearing how strong I have been through all this, knowing how weak I really am. Knowing that it is only God’s strength that has prevailed in my life. I want to be weak for a while. I want to rest from the continual fight. I wonder how long this emotional barrage will continue, and I struggle to even find the words to express everything that is cycling through my jumbled mind. Here’s an attempt to explain:
This weekend Bri and I had a hot date. To a wedding. Because that’s how exciting our life is. Seriously, it was good to get out together and be with friends and laugh and celebrate. At the same time, it was one of the hardest nights I’ve had in a while. There I was all gussied up in my fake hair (yes, the new red one), fake eyebrows, no eyelashes… you get the picture. There were a lot of people who looked right through me and didn’t even recognize me until they saw I was with Bri. I don’t fault them. I look different. I just didn’t realize how hard it is to look different. I’ve always seen friends on my terms. In my home. Where it was obvious who I was.
What it boils down to is that I’m going through another grieving and acceptance stage. I’ve been through grieving the loss of my hair and my former life. Now it’s grieving and accepting what that new life is like. I am tired of walking into familiar places and being Angie with cancer. I just want to be Angie again. I want to fade into the wallpaper and not be noticed. It’s a catch-22, because at the same time I appreciate the noticing. The care. The concern. The interest. It really does mean more than I can tell you.
I just want a break. I want to feel like myself again. I want to not be consumed by this constant murmur in the back of my mind. This constant wondering how I will feel tomorrow when the radiation burning sets in some more. There is the lack of sleep. There is the feeling that now the chemo is over, the “big deal” is gone even though I have so far to go. There is the isolation. It is like I’ve been left on a battlefield, beaten and bloodied and alone.
Then I feel the strong arms of my Brian. They hold me in the night. He is there to listen to my insanity as I babble through my confusion. There are encouraging words. Whispers that I am beautiful to him no matter what I feel or look to myself. There is faithfulness. There is love. In sickness and in health. For better or worse. He is carrying me through this battle.
I will be the one you can cry your songs to
My eyes will share your tears
And I’ll be your friend if you win
Or if you’re defeated
Whenever you need me I will be here
When you’re lost in darkness I will hold the light
I will help you find your way through the night
I’ll remind you of the truth
And keep the flame alive in you
And I will be your shield
‘Cause I know how it feels
When you are a soldier
(Steven Curtis Chapman. (c)1990 Sparrow Songs.)
In the midst of my struggle, I am not alone. God gave me my husband, and in him I not only have a promise fulfilled, I have a best friend. And we will get through this… together.
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