looking through me

Tag: family

reading ahead

Surprises don’t rank very high on my list of favorite things. I’m a fan of a timely heads up and the opportunity to prepare for what’s coming—the good and the hard.

While I’m not a flip-to-the-last-page-of-the-story person, a part of me has always wished life had that option. Wouldn’t it be great to get a sneak peek at what’s to come? Nothing too drastic, maybe just the end of the chapter I’m in right now. Because I’m sure everything would make more sense if I had advance warning for some of life’s plot twists.

I’ve even prayed for it: God, can you please show me how this is going to turn out?

But not any more. I don’t want to know.

If I’d skipped ahead a mere four months ago, I wouldn’t have believed what I read—I wouldn’t have thought it possible to be in this reality. Catching an incomplete glimpse of today would have made me anxious and angry and incredibly confused. Words like gliosarcoma, massive infection, PICC line and platelets would have rocked my world. They would have raised more questions and fears than they’d answered.

If I’d been tipped off that Dad’s lineup of doctors would be big enough to field a basketball team with a bench of reserves, I wouldn’t have understood why he needed neurosurgeons, hematologists and an infectious disease specialist, not to mention the neuro-oncologist and radiation oncologists.

If I’d read the page where I had greater appreciation for doctors saying “I’ve never seen this before” or “I don’t know” than for their hypotheses and possible timelines, I wouldn’t have believed it. I’ve always preferred an abundance of information, so how in such a short span could I become comfortable with—and even grateful for—the admission of limited knowledge?

If I’d known I would come to see waiting as a gift because I’m not ready to hear it all at once, I would have scoffed. I thought knowing was better than not knowing, but I was wrong. There’s beauty in patience. There’s wisdom in waiting. There’s peace in being present in answerless suspense.

Most days I can’t figure out the whys and hows and whens . . . and they just keep coming. But reading ahead won’t solve the riddles.

Today is all I can handle. My soul can’t carry another day’s worries or reassurances. I’ll take tomorrow’s surprises when they arrive.

Turns out, there’s great mercy in the mystery of living locked in this moment.

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good…always

I backed out of the parking space. My shoulders tensed as I white-knuckled the steering wheel.

Through clenched teeth I murmured, “God, You were good yesterday. You are good today. You will be good tomorrow.”

I needed to hear the words. I needed to remember that the unexpected phone call and the unfolding reality changed nothing about the goodness of God. I repeated the words over and over on my way to the hospital.

Life may have shifted from standard to uncertain in seconds, but God’s goodness remained constant. Circumstances couldn’t—cannot—change it.

Almost two weeks later, I see the increased effects of Dad’s brain tumor diagnosis.

The man with perfect writing can barely use his right hand. He can’t grip a pen. He can’t direct his fingers to the desired letters on a keyboard. He can’t pick up his grandchildren. He eats left-handed. I put his watch on for him and clean his glasses. He wears slip-on shoes to avoid tying laces.

The man with a sonorous bass sat in the congregation on Good Friday instead of in the choir. He slowly shapes slurred words.

The man with a servant’s heart has been banished from helping with dishes in the kitchen or tearing down tables after a party. Instead he hears, “What are you doing? Do you need help? I’ll do that.”

Yet, God is good.

He was good before the tumor was present. He was good when the tumor arrived without symptoms. He was good when the growth and swelling began interfering with normalcy. He is good as we wait for surgical intervention. And He will be good regardless of the clinical outcome.

I roll my tense shoulders back and down. I try to slow my rapid, shallow breaths. Life may not feel good. Life may not be good.

But God is good.

Always.

 


Note: This was written early in the week prior to Dad’s appointment with the neurosurgeon Wednesday morning. After two days taking steroids to reduce the swelling, his speech is nearing normal and his hand is not normal but has regained some function. He has a tentative surgery date of Monday, May 1. We appreciate your prayers in the waiting.

 

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