looking back: days 71-75

oh my.

As I am sitting here typing, I am realizing that I have been treating my blog the same way as I have been treating my family, friends, and even God this past month: with silence.

When I become depressed and distressed, their hands seem to take hold of my mouth and cover it, silencing me. And their hands also take hold of brushes and white paint, painting the walls of my mind to nothingness, blank space.

I’m here again to write back on the white walls of my mind, on the white backdrop of this blog. Joy is returning as I return back to people, others and God himself—the source of all joy—acknowledging once again that I can’t muster it up on my own.

What has depressed me so? In all honesty, transition. 

Funny, because you think that when you finally are coming closer and closer to the end of this year of treatment (only 15 more treatment days!?) that you would be rejoicing but instead there is a lot of dread, fear, anxiety, depression. And it is not that I am not excited and happy and relieved to be done with this chemo year, but the more negative emotions are darker, more haunting, looming in the vision.

Because when I look at the calendar now as I am still in chemo-schedule, chemo-year, I have a sense of a “schedule” be it one that is at times torturing and painful, but the pain is clear and is known and is understood and expected to come. “It is expected to come” (oh my, what am I saying?!), and so therefore is seemingly controllable and a part of a comforting-chemo-cycle because it is simply known. To be expected and know that it is coming is in the realm of control, of knowledge. And how I love a schedule, and take comfort in knowing what is to come, even if it is at times horrible horrible drugs that are selfish and takers.

The calendar now in chemo-schedule, in its white grid boxes have “chemo” written in their designated places and spaces. Clarity in white box numbered spaces.

The calendar future: black. All I see in the future is darkness. There is no sense of control, of uncertainity on what is next to fill in these spaces. After a year of 3 week cycles—1 week of chemo + 2 weeks off—what is the next cycle? What is the next schedule of my life?

What is my life?
How much more will I have?
Will I relapse again after this?
And if so, how do you approach life, adulthood, personhood with that potentially all ending it?

So not only is transitioning scaring me, but fear of life is and how much I might have left.

I recently saw Katey, and she challenged me on this fear: “Do you believe that God has numbered your days?”

Ugh. Word-arrow to the bullseye of my soul, my heart.

More Word-arrows aiming:

psalm 139
16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.”

psalm 90
12 “Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

psalm 39

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
    and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
    the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.
“But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.”

And I’m laughing that even though these Word-arrows hurt the moment they hit me, they also bring me unforseen peace and joy.

With each arrow-psalm, they are dividing my heart and showing me surgerically for what my heart truly is, what it truly desires up against His Medical hands and what they desire for me.

I laugh with the realization of His wisdom:

psalm 39

Everyone is but a breath,
    even those who seem secure.
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
    in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
    without knowing whose it will finally be.

I’m laughing, my sorrow turning into joy, because I realize that I am jealous of the seemingly certainty of life of others around me. But they are clearly illusions of certainty, phantom moments, here one moment without guarentee of the next, moments slipping within their hands as well as my hands as I look down.

In fact, whether you or I have cancer doesn’t really effect the fates of our future. We have so little, little control friends, truly, even though we want to desperately have it. (And trust me, I of all people desperately want to have it, to hold it secure in my hands and examine it and know my future.)

But like the psalmist says, “in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth / without knowing whose it will finally be.” I’m jealous of that? Really? Place alongside all of the promises that I know to be true (that I have an eternal reward in heaven, that I get to have relationships with others forever and ever without death severing) my desire for life here is truly nothing but mere glimpses of what is to come.

 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
    My hope is in you.”
psalm 39: 7

Oh help me to remember this, especially as I sit and mull over and crave another’s life. Let me not look around and beside me here on earth, but to look upwards to You.

You are my Hope and not this world.

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