Peering in on cancer


Yesterday my tumor was mailed from Mayo in Rochester to the University of Pennsylvania. My mortality on dry ice. Questions frozen for another expert look. I joined hands with the women of history: Samuel's mother savoring the babe at her breast before handing him over to become a prophet; Rahab, waiting for deliverance in a tall room along the wall of the city; Mary, breathing in the embalming spices left by the Magi as she tends her toddler son, the Savior. Staving off death in living life. Breathing in it's fragrance in every ordinary moment, comingled with all the smells of the day.

Today I kissed my husband with new longing. I disciplined my son with new urgency. I planned for the future with my daughters. I came to the brink of fear in the most average moment - throwing a ball, surrounded by Midwesterners at a holiday bowling league pot-luck. Suddenly I was suspended in the icy tide of fear, the salt of tears stinging the cracked corner of my lip as I pulled my soul back in and bit down hard on the reality in front of me, hauling back the transparent sigh of my heart about to escape, awful, loud, awkward.

Cancer is the house; I am on the doorstep. I've looked in all the windows and I've learned a lot about this house: I know many of it's textures, and smells, and what type of person lives there. But it isn't something I own yet. I linger on the threshold and inspect. I don't know if I will live with cancer for a month or ten years...if this will be but a hostel in which I camp for a night, or if I will be in cancer's rooms, waiting for test results once again a decade from now.

Please pray with me that I don't have to cross that threshold on Christmas. I am praying that the results of the latest tests on my tumor are either positive, or stayed by divine grace until after the celebration of new life. That this Christmas is a beautiful, momentous, memory-filled time of rest with my family.

This song resonates with me...it always has. It is speaking - watering - my soul today.

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
~ How Deep the Father's Love for Us, Stuart Townsend