“I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.”
― Sylvia Plath
Many of you have asked how I am doing with another new chemo and the lingering effects of the chemo reaction I’ve had, and the above quote describes my struggle well. I’ve been holding many things close these past months knowing that even my words cannot explain them or do them justice. There is much that has happened emotionally that has wrecked me in the past months. And there is much that is wrecking me physically, too. It wears on the spirit and the mind, and I am weary.
I am still learning the ins and outs of my newest treatment and which side effects to call in about or which ones to jot down and discuss with my oncologist or palliative care specialist. There are side effects that mirror side effects of heart failure, so it’s an always wondering if it’s chemo or my heart. And it is exhausting to live every day wondering if it’s progressing more because of the physical pain.
I am relearning the withdrawals and deposits of life. Resting in the mornings so I can carpool my girl to practice or go to tennis matches or celebrate Star Wars day with my fam. Last week Bri and I triple dated and went out to a restaurant for the first time in fifteen months. (I’m so thankful for vaccinated friends!) Each of those things depletes me and I spend hours, if not days, in bed afterwards. I am so thankful to be living life again.
But at the same time I am exhausted.
In every way.
And I realized along the way with this last scare, I flatlined like I’ve done before.
And in the flatlining I found myself asking the same questions I’ve asked before, “How do I do this?”
How do I live and love? And how do I laugh?”
And then the asking turned to God, “Where are You in this? What are You doing?”
The last few weeks I’ve spent a lot of time in bed because of my pain. I’ve treated the pain with medicine and movies, but I’ve also read good books and listened to great sermons online, because I know that even if I feel like I’ve flatlined, I can’t stop looking for life.
I look at Thomas, the doubting disciple. He gets a bad rap being remembered as The Doubter, if you ask me. Because, yes, while he doubted, his doubts led him to ask questions, questions that led him back to God. Questions that led him to see Jesus for Who He is, and He cried, “My Lord and My God!” Thomas the Doubter is Thomas the Believer.
And it was this week that God pulled out the paddles and jump started my heart, because I was struck with how I’m not really seeing or hearing. I’m not taking steps. I’m looking and asking, but I am blind to His works and my ears are deaf to His whispers. I’m asking, but I’m not reaching out and putting my hands into the scars and touching and seeing and hearing His voice.
And I realized:
If I’m so busy asking what God is doing, I tend to forget all God has done.
So I stopped asking what He was doing and only asked for Him.
He is working, friends.
The tears still slosh. My heart still skips beats. But He is working.
And in the working, there is life.
There is hope.
Your hope is not that you understand your past, present, and future, but that the Lord of all three holds you in the hollow of his hand. (~Paul David Tripp)