Some days are completely driven by cancer. Other days, cancer takes a backseat. However- while its back there- it’s a cranky , hungry, over-tired toddler who wants to drive- but you crank up the radio and drown out the whining. Not that I’ve ever done that with toddlers. Well, maybe a few (hundred) times.
This past week has been a mix of both. Somedays cancer has been driving some days it’s a back seat whiner. If we continue with the driving theme- it’s been a bit like driving with that toddler on roller coaster rails, without the awesome lap bar.
There was a fabulous wedding- for which I was blessed to be entrusted with decorating the church. (Interpretation: blessed= stressed that I wouldn’t come up with something fabulous enough for the precious -in a non- southern- way- bride.) While creating a backdrop for God to unite a beautiful couple- I was operating with my own backdrop of a looming cancer center appointment, the ever popular tax-day reckoning and our family trying to figure out the safest and best possible care arrangements for loved ones.
Side note: people call this, being part of a “sandwiched” generation. (When you’re faced with caring for elderly parents while raising and launching your children.) But, I gotta say- sandwiches are generally simple, cool, comforting fare here. And this? All these life altering decisions and fear and concern and stress? Is not: simple, cool or remotely comforting. This is closer to a panini-pressed hot melted-mess- minus the goo-tastic cheese. Not good.
With all this roller coaster crazy- I realized this week that my hope has been floundering. I’ve been preparing for the worst- with just a shadow of hope for the best- in all these situations. My brain has been on overdrive- “worst case scenario -what if ” overdrive- I’ve been the cranky toddler complaining in the backseat…I sound like this:
- “What if the backdrop falls over on the bridal party?”
- “What if everyone thinks it’s ugly?”
- “What if we can’t come up with a good solution for our loved ones?”
- What if I never catch up on the laundry? (I won’t. But still- what if?)
- “What if this cancer appointment, is THE cancer appointment?”
- “What if we owe more in taxes than the US government owes to China?”
- “What if the crazies are right and the blood moon really does foretell the apocalypse? (Actually- last week? An apocalypse sounded pretty good. Assuming we don’t survive and there aren’t zombies involved, of course. )
I ended up with a 2 day migraine. I’d love to blame the weather- (Hello- Michigan.. you’re easy to blame.) But- it wasn’t the weather. The reality it is- it was me- worrying myself sick and running myself ragged. Partly in a good way: Planning and creating wedding decor is delightfully fun;) And-partly in a bad way. Obsessively thinking through potential responses and planning counterpoints, and coming up with alternative plans and solutions and responses to hard situations? Not so good. The bible says hope deferred makes a heart sick- I kind of think I’ve been heart-sick. I’ve gotten so used to things not going well- that I forgot there could be a best case scenario- at all.
Here’s what actually happened:
- The backdrop caused no injuries and stayed up as planned. (And it was as beautiful as I could make it;)
- No one thought it was ugly. (Well- let’s face it- someone may have- but no one said it was- so whatever. You can’t please everyone. The bride and her mom were happy- that’s all that really matters :P.)
- The wedding was fabulous. We danced, (yup- somedays you dance with cancer- and I love to dance.) and had a grand time.
- We came up with several good options for our loved ones and the meeting to present those options – while hard-went better than any of us had hoped. (An act of God- trust me.)
- The cancer appointment also went better than we’d hoped. (My husband has advanced prostate cancer- his PSA has been creeping up while being treated. Not a good thing.) This appointment- it went DOWN. Only .2 from 1.5 to 1.3- but still- DOWN! I was preparing myself for the worst.
- It snowed here in Michigan, and today is still tax day- but there has been no apocalypse- blood moon related or, otherwise. and We don’t owe anything additional in taxes. We payed plenty, actually- you’re welcome, US government. But we don’t owe more. yay!
I’ll be honest- we’ve had so many things go NOT the good way that we’d hoped- that I think I got stuck in a hopeless rut. I’ve been trusting God… But, I’ve been trusting him to carry us through the worst case of EVERYTHING. And I’ve been expecting it.
This week? I was surprised with a few best cases – and- everything went better than I’d feared. The good news has buoyed my heart. I needed it. I feel like my hope has been refreshed.
What about you? Are you caught in a hopeless rut? Are you like me- preparing for the worst case- because you’ve faced so many of them? If you are- I understand. I’m with you. I get it. I’m praying.
Dear Lord- life can be overwhelming and fear filled. The truth is- we’ve had so many worst cases to face in the past few years- that I’d almost forgotten how good- good news can feel. Help me to remember. Help me to focus on the hope I have in you- and not allow it to become a shadowed backdrop. For all who are waiting for their hope to be renewed- I pray that you’d be with us in the waiting- and that we’d find opportunities to dance and laugh and be refreshed. Even here- in cancer shoes. I love you lord- and am so thankful- Amen.