Friday, January 30, 2009

Call It What It Is

Yesterday my husband Paul had yet another surgery - a lump removed from the left side of his neck, as well as a small growth removed from his upper right jawline. He is a good sport even though this is one of a chain of surgeries he's been through. Just a week ago 3 spots on his back were removed as well to stay ahead of cancer. At this point everything must be removed and pathology done.

He told his doctor that "oncology" was the wrong term for this type of cancer treatment. "Off-cology" would be more accurate because they keep taking things OFF! Poor guy. Like Mr. Potato Head they keep removing this and that like they were interchangeable parts!

Through all of the ins and outs of my husband's surgeries I feel like God is doing just as much "Off-cology" in my soul. Removing ego here, taking away pride and selfishness there. Don't feel like anything I knew for sure last year I know for sure today. Don't feel like any front I could hide behind before is solid or protecting now. Everything is up for scrutiny before God and is subject to His scalpel if it is not healthy or essential.

I'm not the only one going through soul evaluations and cut-backs; my husband is in his own ICU with God and so are many, many others today. (Intensive Care University) Job losses, home losses, injuries and accidents, premature babies born, those desparately seeking bone marrow matches, a roof over head, reprieve from war . . . it is raw and real.

This afternoon I will speak to the women at the prison. What do I tell them about God's goals for them as they contemplate choices of the past, remorse for decisions, and possibilities that lie ahead? What do I tell them about what must change in their inner lives to be whole and healthy in the future?

The same thing I tell my husband and the same thing I tell myself.

"I know it is awful, this cutting away of parts of you. There is pain. But unless those sick parts are cut away you cannot live. Keep your eye on life - on God's will for you - on His goal. Do not fear His scrutiny or His scalpel. He will not cut away what is essential. He will however cut away those parts of you that must be healed. He wants success for you. Eternal and real. He is the Good Physician. The Good Doctor. He has a future and a destiny for you that you may not understand - and it is good."

Off-cology. The removal of the bad for the life of the good. Call it what it is.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Funky Place

This morning I sat with a new friend Kathi at a fun upbeat bakery sipping my mango smoothie and talking about life's challenges. Kathi's first husband died of cancer six years after they were married. She was a young mom with two small children. He was ill for almost two years. Now eight years later Kathi is remarried and is a step-mom and a child with her new husband too.

We talked about the bumpy road that comes with cancer. We talked about being step-moms. We talked about God and staying fit, about having a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D when treatment A doesn't happen perfectly, and we talked about the gift of peace when life is precarious.

Nothing has changed in my life since 9:00 this morning, but I do FEEL better. Kathi gave me permission to be in this funky place. She said she'd been there too. "They never tell you your going to feel certain things so you wonder what's wrong with me? Then you talk to others who go through long term illnesses, and you realize everyone feels these things."

I guess the best gift Kathi gave me today was knowing I can be in a funky place but I'm never alone. Somehow that makes the funk FEEL much better : )