Of Pulled Rugs and Tapestries

It has happened again. The rug, Pulled out from under our feet and we are struggling to regain our footing.

Reeling. Sad. Clinging.

I battled fevers, rash (covered every part of me except my soles and palms), and pain last weekend and until the middle of last week. I was on all kinds of medications to combat it and lived in the mental fog of either pain or drug induced fatigue. I slept little and wept much.

I have been off the new chemo for over a week. The chemo we prayed and fought for. The chemo my oncologist felt like was the next good way to fight.

I saw her yesterday–the amazing woman who has fought for my life with me for almost thirteen years. We learned last week that she is leaving and relocating across the country. I grieve this loss deeply. I’m weary of loss. In the lives of my friends there has been highest of highs and lowest of lows this past week. On Saturday, we reeled with the death of an older neighbor across from us, one whom Brian had been faithful to care for when needs arose. We are shaken.

Reeling. Sad. Clinging.

One of my chemo nurses, and a friend from church, sat next to me in the lobby to see how I was doing yesterday. His presence in that moment as I waited in the unknown was such a gift. The new plan is to restart my oral chemo at half dose tomorrow and then I will see my oncologist next week to see how I’m doing. I have all the necessary medications should my body respond this way again. She is treating me cautiously. As we talked about next steps, I crumbled. “Is this the last one? At what point do we reach the end of treatment possibilities?” Her hand rested on my shoulder and she looked me deep in the eyes. “There are still plenty in the arsenal to fight. And I’m here for two more months. We will figure this out together.”

Oh, friends. How I will miss her in my life.

As she shared her plans for the future, we both teared up and she told me how she would miss me.

“I have learned,” I told her as we cried, “God is never not providing. He has used you to provide for me these past thirteen years. And He won’t stop because you’re leaving.”

I believe this. I do. But I am so very sad.

Reeling. Sad. Clinging.

I am tired of the rug being pulled out from under us, but at the same time, I accept that this is our life. Incurable cancer does this to you without warning.

But here’s the thing. He puts it back. The rug, woven through with the tapestry of our lives. Our God puts it back. He doesn’t leave us floundering and trying to get our footing. And each time it is pulled from under us, we get to see the Rock we’re standing on. And each time He puts it back, the Rock feels firmer under our feet.

I wonder.

May I use some hopefully sanctified imagination here? After all, as Frances Schaeffer wrote, “The Christian is the really free man–he is free to have imagination. This, too, is our heritage. The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.”

I wonder if that rug will sit on the floor of our mansion in heaven? I like to think that I’ll see it, that I’ll run my hands over it and remember His goodness…

“See that?” I’ll say, “That green? That’s the grass in which we smothered our bare feet, trying to taste the goodness of God’s earth. And that? That gold? That’s the gold of sunsets we watched out the window and marveled at His beauty. The black? That’s the inky darkness of long nights, of midnight cancer… but every black strand turns brilliant yellow as the light emerged. And this red? It’s the cut of every knife, every incision into my body, every needle hunt and prick, every scar. And the blue? It’s the water He gave me to drink through His Word. Look, there’s the pink of ribbons friends wore to honor me. This purple? That’s the laughter of my children. There’s a lot of purple in there. And white… the purity of my Brian’s love for me, an example of Jesus, and a reminder of life. And look, more red… Jesus’ blood shed for me. And this one, look how much of this clear strand there is. These are the unseen prayers of those who loved us, their tears. My tears are over there on that shelf in a bottle. Theirs are in bottles, too, but this rug is woven with them, too. And look at all the different shades of skin. These are the arms of those who carried us through. And all of it, a remembrance of His faithfulness to bring us through. Shot through with His mercy, goodness and grace. Isn’t it the most beautiful tapestry you’ve ever seen?”

I have sat on the phone with friends and with my parents this week to weep, enveloped in words of truth and care. I have poured out my heart and rocked in Brian’s arms. I have wiped the tears of my children. And I have prayed and prayed for the hurting ones in our life.

Reeling. Sad. Clinging.

We are held.

And through it all, the beautiful tapestry in my life grows ever more lovely.

One response to “Of Pulled Rugs and Tapestries”

  1. Judie says:

    My precious sister, Angie,

    Praise be to God that He is in control of everything that He allows to come on us. Our momentary light affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory. These times, though we are troubled by them are our stepping stones to prove our faith is genuine. He orders all our steps to producing fruit, eternal work.

    May we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, running this race in His joy. Our strrngth.

    We have a place to set our minds where there is life and soul peace, may God strengthen us in the inner man that Christ will dwell in our hearts through fsith.

    Love you my dear sister ❤❤

    Like

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