Hilarity or heartbreak?

"Christians are never anywhere by divine accident. There are reasons for why we wind up where we do. Consider what Jesus said about painful, unplanned circumstances: “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:12 -13). So it is with cancer. This will be an opportunity to bear witness. Christ is infinitely worthy. Here is a golden opportunity to show that he is worth more than life. Don’t waste it." ~ John Piper, Don't Waste Your Cancer

There is a fine line between the beginnings of a great story and despair; I often walk it, and I am usually not sure which side of the line I am on while I'm walking. Yesterday was a prime example of this. I have been on a "cancer diet", ridding my daily diet of things that promote cancer growth - sugar, refined flour, preservatives - while at the same time dropping excess weight from my frame. Cancer has propelled me to a new level of gritty resolve in this area. A healthy diet is not a luxury right now, but a necessity. Part and parcel with changing my eating habits, I have been attempting to increase my exercise and time spent in God's wonderful, healing fresh air. My sister-in-law and I hatched a plan yesterday to take a walk - a speedy walk, for exercise! Doing this with five children and two adults is a feat, let me tell you. Our plan involved two strollers and two slings. However, one stroller had flat tires all around, smashing our plan. Bent on continuing despite the set-back, I attempted to rig a handle for our bike trailer (this involved some zip ties and a hockey stick - does that sound like a bad idea to anyone else?).

We embarked with two slings and the rigged bike trailer. We were soon slowing our pace drastically, as the handle didn't steer the two-wheeled trailer very well, slid through the zip ties if not held just right, and threatened to dump the two nervous kids every few paces! But, doggone it, we continued! We switched riders at the stop sign and headed back (by this point realizing our walk would be quite a bit shorter than planned). Soon all the nervous kids were jogging beside us rather than riding, and we were gamely tugging the trailer home. We nicknamed it the "rickshaw", as it took two adults to keep it steady and we resembled mules while doing it! We nearly fell down in the road laughing at our plight...until the toddler pooped! In her underwear, half a mile from home. Any semblance of speed or heart-rate elevating pace was abandoned. I was carrying one in the sling, dragging the poopy toddler (who cried in angry and despairing protest over every poopy step), and praying for mental fortitude to make it back to my home (and toilet, and wet wipes). My sister-in-law ran ahead, keeping an eye on Katy and Rosy, who continued to jog for home.

I was on the brink of despair. I even cried out to God, begging for understanding - why would going on a walk be so difficult?? Why couldn't He erase these obstacles in my path, knowing the physical exercise was needed for both my body and mind? Why choose to test me over a simple walk on a country road? And where are those proffered financial blessings that would make a good double stroller - or a new bike trailer - a reality?

I am a storyteller by nature. I was able to laugh about this event while it was happening, and learn from it, even while I was crying out to God for mercy and relief and understanding. But I was on that brink the entire evening...hilarity or heartbreak? Despair, disgust, or delight?

I lift my eyes up to the mountains
Where does my help come from
My help comes from You
Maker of heaven, creator of the earth

Oh, how I need You, Lord!
You are my only hope
You are my only prayer!
So I will wait for You
to come and rescue me
to come and give me life
~ Brian Doerksen, I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121)