Monday morning. It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving — Cyber Monday, apparently. I am getting bombarded with e-mails alerting me to the fact that IF I will order items online, I can get all sorts of percentages off of the purchases AND free shipping! However, I’m not spending time shopping online today, nor did I tackle shopping on Black Friday. I’m planning to start back on some important paperwork that has waited patiently for me to get back to it.
We’ve had a house-full of family here at the beach for the entire Thanksgiving week and it’s been wonderful — thank you, Lord! My cup runneth over. All three kids were here, as well as Jim’s mom and sister. We also were able to see many of the NC cousins on Saturday night, as there was a Flotilla and Fireworks celebration at Wrightsville Beach, and it just so happened that our upper deck proved to be the place-to-be for excellent viewing!
There is so much to be thankful for — I’ve spent the past week being deeply cognizant of just how far we’ve come since a year ago, when we were at the start of Rob’s chemo, just about to move into our NY apartment, and there was so much unknown territory still ahead of us. NOW — Rob has survived an intense and tough battle with cancer. The fact that he is minus his right leg is difficult, but it’s truly amazing to witness his continuing courage as he has endured cancer and amputation, and now as he is enduring the aftermath. Living daily with challenges is an ongoing deal — in other words, it’s not “over” when the final chemo is done, when the medi-port is removed, when the first hair cut is required… as there are still hurdles that must be faced. Rob is presently experiencing intense nerve pain, different from phantom pain which comes and goes with regularity. Following amputation, the nerves can continue to grow in the residual limb. If this happens, then they can bunch up and become a bundle-of-nerves (funny, that “saying” describes an all-pervasive state of mind, and he’s having the literal experience of it!). This bundle is extremely painful, so much so that Rob has been unable to wear his prosthesis for many weeks now. The problem there is that the longer he goes without wearing it, the less likely that he can fit back into it, etc., etc — it’s a vicious cycle. So, the first order of business for him upon returning to Atlanta this week is to try to get this nerve pain squelched so he can get back to wearing his prosthesis as soon as possible. Time becomes an enemy now — the longer it goes on, the harder it will be to get back to the place he needs to be. So, he’s focused on getting it fixed.
This reminds me of the story of Jonah (I’ve recently completed an excellent Bible study on Jonah, by Priscilla Shirer) — we make our plans, but life can definitely come along and disrupt those plans. It’s best to be open to alternate plans at all times! This isn’t easy, of course. And, as a mom, I would choose every time to shelter my kids from life’s tough blows. Surely Rob has been through enough over the past year, so now — does this seem fair? Shouldn’t things go smoothly for him? Hasn’t he shown his fortitude and stamina and good attitude through it all and now — shouldn’t he be rewarded by having some smooth sailing? Well, that’s just magical thinking. And to be honest, none of us are promised smooth sailing. If it is happening now for you, be very, very thankful! Yet, be ever on alert (maybe it’s more accurate to say, “Be ready!”) for the winds may (will) change! Of course, I’m not saying we should live fearing the future, because that’s no way to live. On the contrary, trusting God with our lives means that we can anticipate with hope what is ahead, even though we can’t see farther than this moment in time.
The fact that God is in control relieves all sorts of anxious thoughts. It would be most scary if I thought I had to be the one in charge — I’m quite sure I’d make a mess of it. If we could write a script, wouldn’t it include: no sickness, for sure – no cancer, no sadness, no famines, no tragedies of any proportion, no destructive hurricanes/tornadoes/fires/droughts/floods/earthquakes/tsunamis/typhoons/avalanches…? The list could go on and on. Well, that’s not the way this life goes, and so we must always look farther than our own comfort for the deeper joys. And we must look farther than this life for the ultimate healing. It was expressed in a recent sermon that we should always hope and pray for “enough” for those we love: enough of what we deem “good” and enough of what we’d regard as “bad” — for without both we wouldn’t have any understanding or appreciation at all.
I remember as a child when I would on occasion begin to whine and complain about whatever it is that little girls whine and complain about, my mother would somehow gently bring the conversation back around to the point of counting our blessings, and to just look at how many blessings we did have. It’s the best way to see that whatever deficits we may perceive, we truly have more than enough. (More-than-enough: that includes too much food during Thanksgiving week…)
I Peter 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In God’s great mercy he has caused us to be born again into a living hope, because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Now we hope for the blessings God has for his children. These blessings, which cannot be destroyed or be spoiled or lose their beauty, are kept in heaven for you.