TODAY. Woke at 3:36 a.m. When that happens, lately more often than not, I wonder in my semi-conscious state, what reason is behind my waking. Is it that I woke myself by rolling over? Could it be that I’ve been wakened so that I can contemplate the day ahead? Am I called to pray? In this case, awakened on this particular morning, I knew I certainly had much to contemplate and more than enough to approach with prayer. TODAY marks one more week before my daughter’s date with an operating room at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. One more week until we, her husband, her parents, and her sister will be there waiting, waiting, waiting, to hear the doctor’s words as he exits the OR and tells us what he found. One more week until the baby I birthed 36 years ago knows for sure that her cancer is contained, that it will not interfere with her mothering of the babies she’s birthed in her adult life, those that she now holds most dear to her. One more week to worry, to dread all things connected to surgery, to fear hearing the wrong news, to hope and pray of hearing the right news. One more week from today.
TODAY. My sister wakes to start a new chemo regimen necessitated because her body has rebelled against the original therapy prescribed by her oncologist. Yes, my sister and my daughter both have cancer at this moment in time, this blink in our universe, which is much shorter than how this particular blink in our family feels. Today my sister will have yet another needle feed her body life-saving chemicals that just happen to make her life sometimes not worth living. In this case, the cure really does appear to be worse than the disease, although logically we all know better.
TODAY. Seven days left to be ready to face my daughter’s surgery, put on my best mom face, the one that has comforted her all of her life and will comfort her in this, her hardest obstacle she faces so far. May I wear the face she needs to see, say the words she needs to hear, and be the mother once more she will require (even though as an adult she feels so much more independent). After her surgery, once released from the hospital, she’ll come to us to recover while her husband flies back to Malaysia (where they presently reside) to his job, but more importantly to their two oldest children who need at least one parent with them as they experience their children’s understanding as to what is happening with their mommy and why she can’t be with them.
Once again in my life I wish I could be in two places at one time. Is there anyone who hasn’t wished that at least once? How I wish I would be here with my daughter and yet there with my grandchildren. Good that I realize that though I can’t manage quite a feat, our God can manage that and so much more. Our God can watch over my daughter, be near her (and all of us) through her entire ordeal at MD Anderson, carry her into the operating room, guide her surgeon’s hands, and even read the results of her pathology tests with the specialist who will physically hold the reports in his hands. Our God already has next week handled. He already knows those days that we can only this morning imagine. He can be with my grandchildren in Malaysia, too, comforting their children’s hearts, filling the emptiness that is the place where their mommy belongs, until He sends her home so that she can fill it once again.
Our God is with my sister during her chemo (another case of my wishing to be two places at once), guiding those that administer her treatment, and in the days following it when she experiences the weakness, the dehydration, and other side effects, He invites her to lean on Him in the darkest moments. That last part is something I must remind myself to do each and every day, I who read morning devotionals, pray regularly, believe that I trust in God, that I trust my loved ones to Him. Still, I must remind myself to lean on Him in my darkest moments, to bring my fears to Him, and to let Him still my internal chaos.
This morning I will quote the Psalmist who wrote, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24. May I remember to quote it as my daughter is taken into surgery next week, as my sister faces down her illness, and as any and all of us think certain days can’t be faced at all.
God is good. All the time. Just because we don’t understand His ways can never change that fact.