This past weekend was full of so much wonderful. My Bear and Bella were in our little city Christmas parade. Their school created a lovely “Alice in a Winter Wonderland” float, and Bear and his look-a-like buddy from class loved being Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum while Bella girl walked next to it as the 10 of spades. After the parade it was the annual Christmas party in the office where Brian sublets, and we sat with friends and laughed hard and long then headed home late to drop exhausted into bed.
Saturday found us watching our JMU Dukes in playoffs football, cheering and gasping and clapping and moaning, jumping to our feet with every touchdown then shaking our heads at the tough loss. We baked pizza together and worked on teacher gifts for Christmas then curled up next to each other with a movie. Sunday found Bella-girl and I home from church, her with a stuffy head and sore throat, me with an excruciating headache. We enjoyed the quiet snuggles of each other on the couch and waited for the boys and Bri to return.
Oh, the headache. I am tired of the headache.
I had my CT scan last night, and as I looked up in that machine and watched the spinning cameras, tears leaked from the corners of my eyes. Not tears of fear. I have been remarkably calm about this scan, but tears of sadness. Sadness that this is our life… full of wonderful, yet full of so much nebulousness. I am weary of fighting this disease, of the chronic pain, of bone-deadening fatigue, of the constant work it takes just to have a “grab and go” breakfast, of never knowing how to explain to friends what our life really looks like, of the battle against hopelessness even when things are looking very hopeful. Because, y’all, this. is. my. life. until God calls me home.
And I cried in that CT machine because I so easily drift to auto-pilot and lose my desperation for Jesus. I don’t want good news like tumor markers dropping or a clear head CT to deaden my heart. I don’t want God to just be a go-to when life is hard. I don’t want to just run to Him when everything is caving around me.
I don’t ever want to lose my desperation for Jesus.
My big brother called this morning, subdued and quiet, wanting me to know I was on his heart as I went in for chemo again and as I faced the results of my head CT last night. My brother is such a wise, kind man whose heart is enormous, and I am thankful for him and for how he walks with me through suffering.
“It’s hard to remember, isn’t it?” he said, “the goal of all this isn’t you getting back to where you were before. It’s getting to know Jesus more deeply.”
Good news or bad news, I only want to grow in my desperation for Him.
And the news, my friends, is good.
The head CT is clear… and it is confirmed that I really do have a brain even though I wonder if it’s there more often than not these days. She is sending me to a neurologist to see if he can help with pain relief and has encouraged massage therapy to help with the tension I carry in my neck and shoulders.
We are relieved and thankful.
Even as I struggle with the hopelessness of the day-in and day-out of all of this, God comes and gives me huge gifts like clear CTs and seemingly small gifts like weekends of love and laughter. Only I have come to realize that the latter is really the bigger gift. The family, the friendships, the joy He brings in the ordinary day-in and day-out of life are magnificent. Every moment is important.
The news is good today.
And as I sit and gaze at the sparkling lights and dangling ornaments on our lovely Christmas tree, I am reminded of the good news that came 2000 years ago.
That good news has never changed.
This. This is what drives me to Him.
(Thank you for your prayers, your love and your encouragement here in this little space. We are blessed.)
Our lives are at once ordinary and mythical. We live and die, age beautifully or full of wrinkles. We wake in the morning, buy yellow cheese, and hope we have enough money to pay for it. At the same instant we have these magnificent hearts that pump through all sorrow and all winters we are alive on the earth. We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded…We have lived; our moments are important.
(~Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones)
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