Amos is looking anxiously at me. His eyes say excitedly, ‘what’s next – what are we going to do?’ That I’ve just cozied up with coffee and my computer, feet curled beside me on the couch – this clues him in not at all.
I was almost brought to tears before 8am this morning. That’s kind of my ‘red flag’ to take some time to be still, empty the cup, let my soul breathe. Sorry Amos, no adventures right now.
As John and I were in the bathroom mirror getting ready this morning, he in his random way asks, ‘How do you get cancer?’ I’m not a morning person by any stretch and to get that out the gate, it hit me hard. My answer to him, ‘Sometimes cells in the body ‘misfire’ and create lots of bad cells that like to grow really fast. Those really bad cells can take over if not stopped. They can keep our organs from working as they should.’ He thought about that for a second, going on to to say, ‘And if your organs don’t work (getting quiet)…then do you die?’ (deep mama sigh) ‘Yes buddy, if your organs can’t work, you probably won’t live.’ He then asked about ‘treatment’ and did I still have cancer when I was getting treatment. I said, ‘not really – the treatment killed mine pretty quickly.’ We talked about white blood cells and how the treatment killed all those too, remembering how careful I had to be to not even catch a cold, let alone something god-awful like the flu I had last week. I said I would have probably had to be in the hospital – how dangerous that would have been. He argued, ‘But you were in the hospital,’ referring to when I was admitted for my port infection. Resigned, I said, ‘Yes, buddy, I was – all things were bad & dangerous for mama during treatment.’ Still not even 8am.
I told Seth I wondered how many other 8 year old boys had similar conversations this morning. I’m sad that mine did. I’m sad he knows any of that.
I read some life giving words the other day about ‘being still with your pain’. I’ve noticed I try to be very unstill these days. I try to move on so fast and furiously, fearing I’ll trip and fall on my face to look back very much. Truth is, I’m a little scared to stop and remember.
Yesterday was the anniversary of getting my picc line & treatment #11. I remember that day. Kimberly at the hospital with me to get my line in, Seth at treatment – one more to go after.
Last week while battling the flu, I remembered where I was a year ago then too – in the hospital, battling to get home. I don’t like battling. I pouted while having the flu because I hate being sick. I told Seth who also got it – that feeling of being hit by a truck, as close to post-chemo as he could get. I felt defeated bearing that reminder. I felt resentful that the flu lasts a few days, chemo was 6 months. There’s that rear view, tripping me, making me feel small.
We’ve grilled out all week, soaking up this unseasonable weather. I sat outside after everyone had gone in the other night. I had my wine, candlelight, breeze blowing through the magnolias, the stars above. I began to cry. I felt overwhelmed. It hit me as I sat there basking in little things that have always brought me joy how much I’ve changed. I felt overwhelmed that all those things didn’t change, but I did. I also had a little epiphany…having cancer and going through chemo is much like being forced to be present in a life that you can’t really live. Those words, that realization – made my soul ache with their truth. That was me, being ‘still with the pain’, holding it’s hand, letting sadness cover me like the night sky. Pain and sadness, they’re part of it, part of me.
Lord, how hard have I been holding on to these tears…Van is singing, ‘I want to hear it, I don’t have to fear it’. These flood gates needed to pour…
I don’t want to be afraid but I know the unease I feel sometimes – looks like fear, feels like fear…probably is. I gave myself a Valentine’s gift to remind myself to be fearless, to persevere, to be strong, to be beautiful – a dandelion seed tattoo. My 2nd tattoo in less than 6 months. The 1st was an anchor with a keyhole cross, inside my left wrist so I would see it all the time. It’s to remind me who my anchor in this life is – His steadfastness, His sovereignty, His mercy, His grace, His will – my hope stayed in Him. I need these reminders. Scars I chose. Choice is a biggie for me. John asked if I was going to be one of those women covered in tattoos (melodramatic question) and I said, ‘I doubt it’, he just shrugged indifferently. Ella thinks it’s neat to bring me dandelion seeds now – ‘looks just like your tattoo!’. They keep me humble.
Speaking of them. They have my heart full right now too. Some growing pains of late, some life virtues being instilled, daily delights and frustrations. Worrying sometimes that I’m not getting it ‘right’. Next breath, overwhelmingly thankful that I get to be here, even if I get it ‘wrong’, better than being gone. Yet even in the next breath, sad I was ever ‘away’ at all.
As the wind is whipping outside, I’m reminded of something else that’s been front of mind lately. My house of cards I’m always trying to build. Ducks in a row, things buttoned up, getting it ‘right’. Remembering how God views all my righteousness, light consulting with Him, keeping it close to the vest. Like that wind, His truth, mercy, grace, the only ‘right’ – will blow right through my house of cards at any time. I know God, I build anyway. You knock it down, I build again – around we go.
The growing pains, not limited to the babies. My words to them echo right back to me. Me thinking I’m the teacher, realizing the lesson is probably more for me. Hank Williams reminded me earlier in the car to ‘sing, sing, sing’, that even when I ‘get weary inside’, my ‘prayers are not in vain’. I know God knows my hard, He abides with me there. He’s happy when I’m happy, He’s sad when I’m sad. He knows I like to build ‘my house’. He knows sometimes He needs to blow it over so I will remember I’m His. Being still with the pain, I think it’s kind of like God & I blowing it over together. I like when we work together – I resist, but I like it.
All that said, I think I’ve filled the ‘stillness’ quota for the moment. The dog needs walking and the sun is shining. With all this wind, it’s not a good day for building anyway ♥