I thought my heart might break
Today was one of those perfect days in the Ozarks, warm sun, cool breeze, long shadows from looming trees, with the smell of fall and hint of woodsmoke in the air. Yesterday was much like it, perfect. These are normally my favorite types of says to spend at home with my folks. And this was a wonderful weekend. The whole family had come in, we were celebrating my brothers birthday and my mother's birthday.
Nothing monumental happened this weekend and yet I will remember this one till my dying day. It was a day of pleasant side conversations, yummy food, my niece talking and parroting the 6 adults around her, meal prep, and a very real mutual understanding that all is not well. The proverbial elephant in the room was there, no actually cancer was sitting in the room there with us. This ugly disease that steals and destroys sat in the room with us as we watched a church service on podcast. I had to look in the face as I saw favorite foods passed over, foods that would have normally been called comfort foods, carrying precious calories that were desperately needed in a weak and disease ridden body. I watched pills be ingested to poison this demon of a disease, knowing the pills weaken and wound and distort the person in the room I love.
I thought my heart my heart might break today. This pain of having to watch suffering in such a real live way was almost more than I could bear. I didn't bear it, I wept. I would drop conversations to weep, turn away, and try to straighten up so that I might pick up the conversation and enjoy the moments I have with this beloved person. It's hard to imagine my pain being anywhere near the physical pain and aches she feels and even harder to understand the emotional strength that she is bearing up under to submit to the emotional pain she endures each day. I saw that pain today. I witnessed it with my own eyes. I saw her heart ache as waves of nausea washed over her and I saw her try to force food, because energy and calories means life. I saw her strong heart wince and weep a little as she lost another tiny battle that she is so determined to win.
In the moment her battles look insurmountable, her mountain looks unconquerable, but her battle is not about waving a pink flag or ribbon in order to say, " I win", her battle is about a sacrifice. A selfless sacrifice of love. Her love for her children and her husband is what drives her, her love of her grandchildren, her family, dearest friends and families through the years, are apart of her legacy. Grandchildren have an eternal inheritance to gain from her and she knows it. This woman is not afraid of death and she will bless the Lord and rejoice in the God of her strength always. I suggest that her battle is far from the modern day commercialized pink ribbon fight. I suggest a battle far more noble and much more costly I suggest she is looking to Jesus, the author of her faith, and enduring and taking up her cross.
I will remember this weekend forever because I saw a a woman bear her cross, put on Christ and lay down her life for her family that she might live (more fully in Him), so we might live more fully with Him. I watched her fight and I thought it might break my heart. Then I look again and I recall a lesson on a Roman road.... "For one will scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good person one would even dare to die- but God showed His love for us that in while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."