The “C” Word and the “P” Word

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Cancer—the “C” word. Say it and you can get a range of reactions from something short of a scream to a shrug with a “Oh, my <fill in the blank> had that.” A rather broad scope, wouldn’t you say? But both responses are hard on the heartstrings. The almost-scream makes me want to pat their back and comfort them. As for the shrug—I’ve found that silence causes the least trauma (to me). One question or comment will cause the “shrugger” to launch into a blow-by-blow description of the experience their friend/loved one/neighbor had—including gruesome details and usually punctuated by the pronouncement “Oh, they’re dead now.”

Definitely TMI.

So what is the optimum reaction to a cancer diagnosis? I’m sure it is different for people, but I am most comforted by the “P” word—“I’ll Pray for you.” Regardless of whether or not they ever get around to praying is irrelevant. I am still humbled by that simple phrase. Their very statement is a prayer. And it’s enough.

And by the way, I don’t mind hearing “I’ll pray for you” over and over. Tell me as many times as you want. I won’t get tired of it. And the beauty is God doesn’t get tired of it either.

(Originally posted December 22, 2016)

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The Hand of God

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What if…what if…?

I’m a fiction writer and have trained myself to play the “what-if” game. You know, like: what if the heroine is a runaway? What if the hero accidentally injured his younger brother while they were wrestling and now he carries around a weight of guilt? What if the antagonist is really the father of….?

You get the picture. All great stuff for a novel.

However, when it comes to real life, the what-if game is a bad habit. What if John died tomorrow? What if our health insurance won’t cover that bill? What if our house doesn’t sell in a timely fashion? Though I have little control over these worries, I still entertain them. Even invite them for tea and muffins (gluten-free, of course).

Recently, in the midst of a massive what-if, tea-and-muffin party, tightness squeezed my chest. Breathing became difficult. My hands started to shake as all the terrors of a very bleak future gripped me. “God, where are You? Can you see what’s going on? What if all these worries came true…?”

And in that moment, I felt as though He stood behind me and put His hand on my shoulder. A soft, near-soundless whisper brushed my ear—“One step at a time, my child, one step at a time…” And immediately all my anxiety evaporated.

My imagination? Possibly. After all, I do have a great imagination. In this case, however, I find it hard to believe that in my anxiety-riddled moment I could have manufactured the unexplainable calmness that poured over me and washed away all the what-ifs. I look back on that incident—which happened a mere week ago—and believe I felt the literal Hand of God. As I step toward the future, I sense that He is not far away. I may not see Him, but in scary moments, I can still feel His tender, loving touch.

(Originally posted December 9, 2016)

Old Photo, New Memories

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I am dedicating this blog to my husband, John, who is pictured somewhere in this photo. Just months ago, he was on top of the world because of his good health despite his age.

That seemed to change in an instant.

It began as him being unusually tired after he got home from work. Then I noticed him having a little more difficulty getting up in the mornings. Finally he complained of neck pain.

We did the “doctor routine” and began ruling out possible causes. An MRI on his neck showed arthritis–which we expected–but not the “anomaly” in his bone marrow.

And now we wait to meet with a specialist, but the wheels of medicine are grinding slowly. After a second appointment change, we are learning to exercise patience. However in this time, we are seeing the quiet and miraculous Hand of God. This blog is about how we are witnessing His incredible love poured out through people and events. I invite you to take this journey with me. Let us both be astounded by His ever-faithful presence.

(First posted December 7, 2016)