I was looking at Timehop a couple of days ago and read a Facebook post from one year ago, it was announcing the end of chemo. I can’t believe that it has been a whole year since that nightmare ended. I’m conflicted with two feelings.
First, I feel incredible gratitude. I am so thankful that I am here today. I am thankful that my children still have a mother and my husband a wife. I am thankful for my beautiful friends who covered me in prayer and help. I developed meaningful friendships and saw others fizzle, cancer will do that. I am thankful that my relationship with my in-laws deepened and grew into something I cherish.
Most of all, I am thankful for how my relationship with God changed. I love this song called “Surrender” by Blanca. I think these lyrics describe so much of what happened:
All the right words coming out when I pray
Even though my heart is miles away
Only me to blame
I’m the star of the show
I’m reaching for something real
I’m done playing pretend
Carry me back to You again
You can take all of me
Every little piece I’m holding
You can invade the very heart of me till I surrender
I’m raising my hands, I’m waving my flag
You can take all of me, all of me
So, here it is, all my good and my bad
Walls are coming down like an avalanche
I don’t want to fight this love anymore
All the walls came down. My relationship with my Father changed and deepened. He showed me who I was and it almost destroyed me but he carried me through. I rebuilt my relationship with him on a much stronger foundation. I let go of a lot of the pretense and became more authentic in my walk. There was a lot of crying, frustration, anger, confusion and even screaming. It’s not always been pretty but its honest. I would walk it all a million times over to end up where I am. Today I actually see my self for who I am….a mess. I have so much to learn, I always will, anyone who thinks they have nothing to learn in any area is a fool. But somehow seeing more clearly how imperfect I am has made the perfection of my savior that much more clear.
I feel gratitude every single day. I also feel another very distinct feeling almost everyday and it seems to stand in complete opposition to gratitude. I feel disappointment. I feel it so deeply and profoundly that at times it seizes me up. I envisioned this time a lot. When times were hard I would picture what life would be like in a year. I would think about how much better I would feel. No pain, more energy, more time playing with my kids…I saw restoration. What I am experiencing is dissapointment.
My life is full of the aftermath of treatment. Pain rules almost everything. My doctor’s solutions are lots of pain meds. I don’t care for that very much. I don’t like feeling like a zombie, like I’m going through the motions. I fought hard for this life, so I want to live it! So, most of the time I don’t take them. Which means I’m in pain, always. I’ve written posts about that before so I wont spend too much time on it but it’s unbelievably hard.
Dealing with hearing loss has been a battle I never thought I would face. My life is music. Listening to it, writing it, and playing it is so much a part of who I am. It’s not just something I do, it’s somehow tied up into the very heart of my being. My most authentic place is found in music, its my purest form of worship. This is breaking my heart. I’ve cried and asked God a hundred times how he could take away my hearing. Why would he take away something that I use to serve him? How does that make any sense?
He’s teaching me lessons through this, he’s so faithful that way. I am learning that I am more than music and singing. I am learning that his plans for me far exceed the plans I made for myself. He’s calling me to new arenas and things that make me incredibly uncomfortable. He’s opening my eyes and I’m discovering that I have limited my worship and service to things I felt comfortable in. I don’t want to live like that. I want to be bold. As my hearing leaves my listening is improving. Diane Comer talked about that in her book “He Speaks in the Silence” and she was so right. As the noise is fading away I am finally hearing things more clearly. Its strange and wonderful.
It isn’t always revelations, peace and well wonderful but I’m learning. Just a few weeks ago I found myself at a couple’s dinner I had been looking forward to for weeks. I was going to hear a woman I respected speak and was sitting at a table filled with friends. Everyone was having a blast. Me? I wanted to cry. With so many people in such a small space and so much ambient noise I couldn’t make out anything. It all sounded like a blur of noise. I find myself making accommodations a lot now. I use closed captions on the tv, rarely make a phone call and focus intently on people’s mouths when they talk. Those accomodations weren’t going to help me much at that table. I looked up and saw Diane Comer sitting there so peacefully at her table and I thought of her book. I took a moment and quieted the freak out that was going on inside. I looked at people’s faces and saw the smiles, laughter and joy. Soon I found myself smiling. They were all enjoying themselves so much and I loved watching them. As soon as I stopped focusing on myself joy replaced fear. Its funny but all the sudden I could hear the people at my table a bit better, not well, but better. I was able to make out what they were saying, with the help of a little lip-reading, and I had a wonderful night.
So, there it is. Gratitude and disappointment. They are living side by side right now. However, I am hopeful that a third feeling will take over, hope. Hope for the future. Hope that things will change or God will change me enough to handle them.