Today was a chemo day. I’ve lost track of how many treatments I’ve had. There is no countdown to when I’m done. There is no bell to ring as I walk out of the chemo treatment room for the last time amidst the hugs and cheers of nurses who have become friends.
There is only, “We will see you in three weeks.” Or four weeks, because my oncologist is wonderful that way and scheduled my next chemo for after Christmas so I could feel well for the holiday.
I feel it strongly. The howl of Advent. The longing, the ache.
Over the Thanksgiving holidays we watched a movie together and during a voiceover, I found myself weeping (seriously, trying not to be a distraction) as she spoke something along these lines:
Darkness is always there, but there is something that is worse than darkness. The truest darkness is not absence of light but the fear that light will never return… But the light always returns… Hope is real. You can see it.
Oh, my friends.
This describes the past year of my life. I have wrestled and wrestled this fear that the light will never break through the darkness.
And now, as I face more procedures and tests and waiting…
The howl is still there. Some days it’s so loud it’s all I hear… other days it’s quiet. But it is an achingly lonely longing for the restoration of the brokenness of this world.
An achingly lonely longing.
I often wonder what it was like during those years of silence before Jesus was born. What did they think? How did they feel?
I imagine it was an achingly lonely longing.
The howl of Advent.
My biggest fear in all of my struggles with cancer has been that I would lose sight of Him. That the darkness would become so oppressive that I wouldn’t see the light.
But the light always returns.
Advent isn’t just an achingly lonely longing, it’s an expectant waiting.
Because hope is real.
Light always returns.
Today the light came in small ways:
“Mary’s Song (Breath of Heaven)” by Hannah Kerr on repeat in my car as I ran errands early in the morning…
My dear daddy, always my chemo buddy, sitting by my side sharing truth with me (and a lover of quotes, like me, sharing words)…
Kind friends, remembering, texting me, sharing love, understanding my darkness…
An oncologist who laughs with me and cries with me, who’s always on top of where I am and what I need…
My mom, stepping in to fold that load of laundry I didn’t get to, driving children from school and to appointments…
A warm “breakfast for supper” brought by a friend…
And now, a quiet night together.
He shows Himself in mercy after mercy after mercy as I wrestle over and over and over.
Hope is real.
Light always returns.
Only His light.
It’s never gone.
I just need eyes to see Him.
(The next two weeks hold more procedures and scans and waiting. I tire of the waiting and wondering. Of my inability to be and do all that I long to do for the holidays with my loves. Will you please pray for good results? And for a heart like Mary’s who willingly bows in acceptance?)