It is dark and windy as I write this, the rain lashes our old farmhouse in torrents. The children curl up in our den with me and we watch the puddles form on the road, waiting for Brian to return from the store. Cooper snuggles close. We are not fearful, just fascinated with how quickly it came upon us and how fierce it rages.
I think this is how life has felt for us a good bit lately. We are not fearful, just overwhelmed with how quickly things have come upon us and how fierce our battle rages. It has been a year and a half of battling this cursed metastatic disease… this is the one we have feared and dreaded for the past nine years. This is the one with no cure, no end in sight, no relief from treatment, pain, and fatigue. And we are tired.
I spent a little while outside this morning in the sunshine. Bri was working on our car, so the children and I teamed up to try to tackle some weeds and spruce up the front of our home. We worked together, Coop tethered to the faded porch, the one that needs to be power washed and painted and stained so badly. I clipped and chopped and Bella dug and scooped and Bear weed whacked and Ash followed along behind us with the wheelbarrow and composted our clippings. Halfway through the front flower bed, I sat next the road, took off my gloves and cried over the pain in my hands from the work, the nails that cracked back beyond the nail-bed, the weariness of my body. I had hit my wall. It came on so quickly.
But the tears were for much more than that. How? I wondered. How am I to care for my home, this beautiful old farmhouse that seems to be falling down around us? How do I do the necessary work when my body fades so quickly? I despaired of our home ever seeming finished… our foundation is crumbling, our bathroom renovation is on hold until that is fixed, boxes line my hallway, and I see how slanted our floors are becoming. If I can’t even manage to weed a flowerbed, how do I care for the rest of it?
We took a break, Bella wrapped her arms around me and screamed at the sky, “I just hate cancer!” Then she grabbed her binoculars and notebook to explore the backyard. Bear picked up the weed whacker and told me he’d take care of anything he saw, and Ash stopped to throw a lanky are around my shoulders before he pushed a full wheelbarrow far to the back of our yard. Coop ran alongside us, finding his big blue ball and tearing through the yard. We all laughed at his antics. We needed to. The sun shone bright and warm, and the laughter of my children brought peace as I remembered, perhaps hearing the necessary whisper of the Holy Spirit, “This is your gift. All of it. This is not the end.” Yes, my husband and my children are my gift. They are my home. These are the joys I do pour into with the energy I have. And my house is my home, too, and I steward it as I can. I care for these good gifts… that is the desire of my heart.
I do what I am able, and He see it and He blesses it. If He gives it, another day I can work on more weeds. Another day builders will come and restore our foundation. The tile-work in our shower-to-be is beautiful, the handiwork of a friend whom we watched grow up in our church. The bathroom renovation will finish one day. And, Lord willing, we will paint and decorate and move on to a new spot to make our house more lovely. I’ve already found some gorgeous curtains on a bargain rack for our living room and I can’t wait for the brightness they will bring.
The battle rages fiercely. The exhaustion comes quickly. But the truth speaks boldly. We are together and this is home. This is not the end. And the love fills deeply.
This house is deteriorating. My body is dying. We are subject to the same terrible decay. But worth is not measured in such terms. Once upon a time, God called His creation good. And no curse of sin unwound these words. Gnarled maple trees. Plaster walls. An ordinary woman’s ordinary body. All good. To care for these is to say to death, “You are not the end.”
(~Christie Purifoy, Roots and Sky)