Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Life is ... good.

So tonight I am sitting in my mom's living room listening to her breath as she sleeps on her couch. I listen to the patterns of her breathing like sweet music, and as a mother I know that there was a time that it was she sitting listening to my rhythmic pattern of life ... smiling and thinking, "Life is good." How time flies by and tables turn ... sometimes without one realizing that it has even happened, for tonight it is I that watches her with a heart full of love and thinks, "Life is good."

Most of you know that I am a survivor of breast cancer. Some of you even walked the road with me, and watched God's goodness and faithfulness anoint me for a journey that He would use to change lives and bring Him glory. That was 8 years ago this month. How time gently slips away as life is lived ... hardly noticed or acknowledged until a moment comes when once again you are reminded of the fleeting gift of life, a moment of vulnerability, of clarity, of truth.

Such a moment came to pass late last week when my mom called me to tell me that a suspicious lump had been found in her breast during her mammogram. While not definitive, I could not help but wonder at the irony. You see I have spent years wondering if I would ever have the colon cancer that almost took her life over 25 years ago, but I never ... in all my years ... ever wondered if she would get breast cancer like me.

How familiar it all felt. The waiting, the additional tests, the speeding up of time as one takes the steps of finding out they have cancer. Familiar, but different. For this time, I find myself on the other side of this disease. The side of caregiver, supporter, loved-one ... and I found it rather challenging and uncomfortable. Having already walked this walk, I already knew that the people who walked the path with me shared in the journey, the pain, the uncertainty. What I never realized is just how helpless those that share in love this walk of cancer feel. I am grateful for this lesson, and appreciate those that walked with me and all they went through, because to be honest I think it was perhaps harder on them than it was one me. How many of you offered up strength and encouragement, but cried when I wasn't looking as I have this week? I count your tears precious, and I understand now the sacrifice that you offered up as you supported me.

Today, my mom had a lumpectomy ... with the same surgeon, in the same hospital, during the same month and I sat in the waiting room to experience the surgeon's footsteps. I could not help but notice all the ironic twists of similarity right down to the type of cancer they think it is and the location of the tumor. But, there was a similarity even more important than all of those combined and that was the anointing of my mother for this journey. You see, 25 years ago she faced cancer without a personal relationship with Christ. I remember it. It seemed dark and scary and deadly.

It birthed in me a fear of cancer that would stalk me throughout my life until I myself faced it .. and viewed it through the eyes of my Savior who came along side me and carried me through the fiery furnace just as He did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. How I remember the amazing peace that filled me and fueled me ... tangible, undeniable, unmistakeable. That is why I could not help but notice that very same anointing upon my mom ... tangible, undeniable, unmistakeable ... and I know without a doubt that He will carry her through this with the gentleness and faithfulness that only He can have ... filling her with peace and joy ... no matter what the road ahead has in store. And I, will walk with her .. in the shadow of His presence, seeking His face ... remembering with every step the lessons I learned from my cancer walk so many years ago.

The surgeon thinks that they caught it early, that she was able to get clear margins. That is good news. And we wait, in peace, for the pathology report on the sentenial node to reveal if the cancer was contained, knowing no matter what God is with us and Life is good.