While We Journey On
Saturday, kind friends lent her a couch in their beautiful view with a lounge attached (just outside Crieff), where she was supposed to spend the day while I travelled between Dundee and Crieff. However, without seeking prior permission from her hubby, my missus snuck herself into the church service. Naughty, but who can blame her!?
Sunday we had a lovely walk in Perth and spent the afternoon with friends.
Monday – Friday were busy too: she worked, saw doctors, ate well, giggled and spent time with the boys, walked some, talked some, cooked a bit, planned a bit, signed some papers, made some phone calls and even managed an hour in the sun. Normal life. Well, almost!
Truth be told, life now is not the same as it was a month and a half ago, and it is very different from what it will be like in a month and a half’s time. Change happens at a very rapid rate and we need to adapt accordingly. When we first talked with the doctors about what to expect, two things stood out: (1) This is a marathon and not a sprint; (2) Things will get worse before they will get better. Translation:
(1) All the fighters and survivors we spoke with, warned us that it will be a long journey marked with regular GP & oncology appointments, all kind of scans, chemo & radiation sessions, surgery – you name it, it’s all there. Frustratingly, this means living one day at the time and relinquishing a lot of the control we thought we had before. We need to pace ourselves if we are to see the finish line.
(2) The first 6 months the side effects are horrible: if you are nauseous it means you just can’t see any food \ juice \ smoothy \ supplement, etc, no matter how beneficial they are. If you are tired, there is no negotiation. So, what lies before us is a mountain, the top of which is shrouded in dark clouds.
However, as this was a good week it got me thinking about bad stuff and I concluded that I am averse to pain and suffering and tears and grief and death. In fact, everything I do seems to be aimed at avoiding or reducing them.
I know I’m not alone in running away from hard stuff. I read this the other day: I tried to exercise, but I was allergic to it. My skin flushed and my heart raced. I got sweaty and short of breath. Very dangerous!
I have to admit: I am allergic to the pain and suffering of this world because of what they do to us and I know that I am not alone. They are dangerous stuff! But the reality is that no matter how hard we try to avoid them, they are very much part of life. Not by design, that’s for sure, but they are there nonetheless. The question is, how do we deal with them.
Someone who had his fair share of pain and suffering in life recognised this when he saw the trials his friends were going through and put it this way: We remember unceasingly before our God and Father your work energised by faith and service motivated by love and endurance inspired by unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ.
I like the connections: work is energised by faith; service is motivated by love; endurance is inspired by hope. In other words, work, service and endurance, are possible and done best when they are energised, motivated and inspired by faith, love and hope.
In our context, the next 6 months will be an endurance race. And perhaps the best thing we can do is to allow the hope we have to inspire and fuel it. Which begs the question: what do we hope for? Well, here is the best suggestion available, as it is described in the Bible: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
The plans God has for us do not involve any of these hardships – no tears, no death, no mourning, no crying and no pain. They belong to this current order of things. Being in the presence of Life itself means that anything that is counter-life does not belong there. Perhaps my allergy to all this anti-life stuff is an indication that it was not meant to be part of our experience in the first place. I belong in the Presence of Life. Perhaps that is one of the purposes of this journey – to learn to seek and enjoy His Presence here more, in anticipation for what is to come.
May your race of endurance strengthen our faith!
May your difficult journey increase your love for people and your understanding for their circumstances!
May this be a path, which fuels your imagination, passion and resolve for that which is to come!
* Bible Texts referenced above: 1 Thessalonians 3:3, 4; Revelation 21: 3, 4