How I treasure a normal day. Life changes in a second when suddenly normal is gone.
You remember the moment forever when you learn of the physical illness or death of a loved one. It’s like your chest is being compressed as terror floods your mind. You want to yell, stop, this can’t be happening, but your gasp is silent as it should be, if it is a family member or friend dealing with their own shock and needing every ounce of support and encouragement you can give, but it’s enormously difficult.
The disruption of normal happened to my husband and I the Monday after Thanksgiving when he returned from a pre-op physical and announced the EKG revealed a heart abnormality. A week filled with stress tests and echocardiogram and cardiologist visits spun by in dizzying speed. Until we heard no alarm, heart’s okay, but the tumor found during a colonoscopy was to take two days in UW. Madison Hospital to eradicate. If there’s a sweeter word in the English language than benign I can’t think what it is.
Where was God in all this? I felt like a tightrope walker holding two poles, Christ and the Holy Spirit, and a magnetic beacon, God the Father, drawing me forward. The Scripture verse that sustained me, for I surely needed strengthening, was given me by phone from a dear friend the next day. You may laugh when you read this or perhaps consider me dotty, but I embraced “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all (I really needed this because I become very assertive when a loved one of mine must maneuver the medical maze.) And then this next section is a gem, “The Lord is near.” Followed by “Do not be anxious about anything, but present your requests to God with petitions and thanksgiving and the peace of God which passes all understanding will be yours in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4: 6-10)
Not only did I read this, I printed out three copies – one for my purse, one for my bedside, and one in case I lost either of the other two. I memorized it and meditated on it. If ever Scripture was a sword, this was for me.
Now again I’m savoring normal days, but taking longer to dwell over the joy of a shared trip to the store or lingering while we wat breakfast together instead of zipping off. Rejoice? You can be sure we do, with hearts of gratefulness.
If you or a loved one faces the terror of cancer or heart disease, may I suggest requesting a copy of Triumphing Over Cancer, a manual I wrote to help patients after being thumped by our own eighteen year old son’s cancer followed by his being hit by a drunk driver. There is a fundamental flaw in the name it, claim it prototype of God, but there is total truth in a God whose love is measureless and whose strength of grace is steel in His hands and ours.
I wouldn’t, couldn’t, walk through the devastation of concern for a loved one without Him. The manual, Triumphing Over Cancer, will do more than two or three greeting cards. Order it at the website or e-mail me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.