The road so far

I've been walking the cancer road for 9 months now. The time it would take to grow a healthy baby in my womb. Along the way, I've begun to recognize a peculiar ebb and flow: tension and anxiety, followed by a season of peace and tranquility and yet ravenous consumption of every minute blessing in my life unlike seasons that have ever gone before.

Diagnosis: stress and heartache, fear. I felt like I was standing in front of a full-length mirror for the first time in a decade. Scrutinizing myself, and particularly my soul. Unprepared for what I saw in my reflection, but gritting my teeth and examining it nonetheless.

After surgery: descending into a new reality. Coming to grips with a different life and molding new expectations. Turning my back on the past and embracing the future, it's myriad delights and sorrows. Feeling the gut-wrenching bitter and the mouth-tingling sweet that is watching a life fly by in a series of moments I wish I could bottle up and live in forever. Thinking about tomorrow...but yet never thinking about 3 months from now. I packed my full-length mirror away.

Treatment: My hands pierced the icy water of the deep end of this pool of suffering as I cleaved the water's surface, a fearless and determined dart of humanity diving head first and headlong into whatever lies below the surface. I kicked my legs furiously and reached the bottom. I laid there, in the deep, feeling the burn of my lungs echoing the cry of my heart. Memorizing the grains of gravel that etched my back and scarred me forever.

Home again: in a bubble of release, the pressure in my chest just shy of explosion, my face broke the surface, following my hands as I emerged from the dark deep to feel the sun on my face again. Delight, awe, gratitude, rediscovery, regrowth. I didn't look below the surface for a long time. I reveled in denial. I put on optimism like a familiar cloak, not even pausing to examine it's threads.

Next scan: I stood on the diving board for long moments as the clock ticked audibly beside me. I knew the depths. I remember the gravel in the bottom. I remember the darkness. I don't want to return. I walk away, and revel in denial for a few more days.

Preparations unmade, days uncharted. It stretches before me like the abyss it of it known, previously discovered; yet it's length and breadth unknowable. I teeter on the edge and plan about planning. But the details elude me. I revel instead in companions, friends, family, sights, sounds, smells, experiences. Real life, not details of a life yet to be lived. I don't want to live it. It's almost as if I believe that it won't come to pass if I don't turn to face it.

So this week, I turn to face it. I consider what I must lose; I problem-solve so that I lose least, and gain something. (Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ~Matt. 10:38-39) I go on the strict diet, I make all the logistical plans, I cook ahead for my family, I wrap gifts for each of the 19 days I may be gone this time around, for each child. In every act of preparation, I have that old familiar choice: to grit my teeth and survive; or to find a way to cherish and believe and grow because of the pain I am facing, knowing.

This verse has played in my head all day: From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. (John 1:16)

And this song, which has become an anthem for this season in my life:

Evermore my heart, my heart will say
Above all, I live for Your glory
Even if my world falls I will say
Above all, I live for Your glory

~ Hillsong, Evermore