#15 Unwavering Faith

Apr 19, 2015

Without a doubt, faith is hard for many to grab hold of and trust in. As I began to get well and “Come back to life” as I call it, I was coming from a place of confinement for a long period of time and was not able to take care of myself.  I was fully dependent upon my family and friends for every basic need. Eating, sleeping, bathing, taking medication, transportation, head rubs, at times even dressing. You name it, I needed it. I could do nothing without help, with the exception of turning the channel on the remote. I felt great success in that accomplishment even though it often brought me endless episodes of Meerkat Manor during ungodly hours of the night.

During the time of my treatment, I was not able to work. I could barely make it to the bathroom in time and resorted to wearing diapers. I was pushed in a wheelchair to get in and out of my daily radiation treatments since chemo and radiation took just about every bit of my life from me. I wore the same navy blue, elastic jersey knit pant set to treatment each day because making the decision of what to wear was too overwhelming for me, and the elastic made getting in and out of treatments easier. Each day I would roll myself onto the radiation table, pull my pants down to my knees, remain still for a few beeps of radiation, and I was on my way.

There wasn’t a person around who was not nice and kind and loving, and full of good intentions. My mother created a sanitized sanctuary where no one could enter our home without good reason, and if you did, you left your shoes at the door, lathered up with hand sanitizer, and were told not to stay too long. Typically though, if you were not a member of the family you didn’t make it past Mom.  She took whatever you had to offer and sent you on your way. No potential germs were making their way to her youngest cub and she saw to that.

Each day the mail filled our mailbox with cards and well wishes, flowers and fresh fruit deliveries, and gifts galore.  I was truly overcome by the outpouring of love that came from all areas of my life.  I could never have imagined such caring and compassion could come my way. I never thought I mattered so much to so many. It was quite an awakening.  Even now as I write this, I am in awe of it all and so very, very grateful to have been lifted up and held so tightly by so many wonderful people.

Steve was with me every moment he was not working. From the time I was diagnosed, he never missed a doctor’s appointment. I’m not sure when he rested. The poor guy walked through each day like a zombie, his eyes swollen with the desperate need for sleep.  Ask anyone who saw him day in and day out.  He was my rock. Because he rarely left my side I went through some major separation anxiety as I began to heal and was left alone in the house more and more. Getting well proved to be a lot tougher than I thought.

When treatments were over and I prepared for surgery, I watched my body bounce right back to life just as quickly as it atrophied. The body is such an amazing machine.  It can be brought right to the edge of lifelessness, giving you just enough to hang on, and then pop right back to where you were before your diagnosis. The only difference is, you’re never truly right back to where you were before your diagnosis. There’s a change, a shift. I suppose if you were the same person coming out, you wouldn’t have learned the lesson that was meant for you. Wrapped up in all you’re experiencing, the universe is sending you a message. Pay attention.

I always knew I was supported, loved, taken care of, and being led to a better place. My faith never wavered through all of this.

Fast-forward almost seven and a half years and my faith is being questioned yet again as my son makes the decision to be among many of our nation’s bravest and join the Navy. How could I possibly question his path and allow myself to worry? I’m not a worrier, that’s Steve’s job. He worries enough for the entire family- my side and his. Worrying is not part of my makeup. When the faith is strong, worrying is not part of the equation. How can I come from a place of heavily relying on my faith through one of the toughest times I've experienced, and then waiver when it involves my children?

Joining the military is just one more notch on the parental belt of concerns. It comes not long after first bus rides, girlfriends, questionable friends, driver’s licenses, turning 18, smoking, tattoos, and alcohol. I’ve had more than enough practice in relying on faith when faith was all I had to go on.

My best advice to you when questioning where you are, is to just Trust and Know. I leave you with the refrain of an old Gospel song written by Charles A. Tindley. I had the pleasure of singing these words last night at a Kirtan in town sponsored by our local yoga studio. I hope you feel the lyrics as deeply as I did and enjoy the tears that roll down your cheeks.

Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out—
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.