My friend Susan and I amble along the grounds of the county fair with our two five year old girls who romp ahead with boundless energy like two curious lambs. Today the fair grounds are exceptionally crowded, maybe because the day started out as a blue bird day. Susan and I avoid the crowds, in need of a stretch of quiet, and stroll along the periphery, the knoll, where there is a bit of solitude in spite of the masses. She shares about her summer accomplishments, like the Iron Lady she diligently trains for. We laugh and exchange sentiments about the upcoming event. Then the shadow of reality looms in on our conversation: her cancer.
Then, storm clouds abruptly rush in large and powerful suffocating the sun. Torrents of rain fall hard. We find shelter under the eave of a barn. It was as if time stopped. Crowds dissipate in all directions to seek solace from the storm. Thunder clapped, lightning marked the sky, a true summer storm.
As we waited the storm out in that barn, Susan stares contemplatively out at the scattering crowds.
She breaks the silence, “You know cancer changes your perspective on life.”
Her eyes locked, emptily, on the few people scampering about, and she says, “I feel like shouting, screaming at people to tell them, remind them what’s really important in life.”
She mentions the license plate she saw the other day on the back of a Jaguar that read, “My Dream”.
Susan, motionless, eyes fixed on passersby, “How silly…my dream is to watch and embrace the moments of life with appreciation. I want to see my sons grow into fine men. I want to watch my children grow up. Then there is my little, one, Samantha, she needs me and I want to raise her.”
“The money that owner put into that car would pay for a fraction of my monthly treatments.”
Cancer makes a person bargain for time and events in life.
“Just let me see my five year old graduate from high school; I’m not asking to see her get married.”
It’s accepting the unknown. Coming to terms with God’s will and eventually coming to terms with the suffering and the Sovereignty of God.
It’s part of the walk, when we made the heart agreement to follow Him.
Darkness lifts and the storm passes. We walk through a field still avoiding the crowds that now come out of hiding.
Another storm weathered. Minutes, days, weeks, life continues on for my friend, but never back to normal, not knowing when and if the storm will hit again.
“I leave for treatment in two weeks and won’t be around when the kids start school; it’s not the same you know when mom’s not around.”
Back in the crowds, we speak quickly to finish our conversation so we can go back to words about incidentals. We catch up with her husband who wears the pain of the unknown deep in his eyes.
Storms change perspective. Where do we find refuge during the storm?
(1) God still loves us and God is still for us – “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (I Pet. 4:12).
(2) Cling to the Branch – “There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and the rain” (Isaiah 4:6).
(3) Our Hope is in Him – Hallow the Lord Christ in your hearts, ready always to give a reason to everyone who asks you for a word concerning the hope that is in you”( I Pet. 3:15, AT).
This blog is dedicated to my friend Susan. From friends who point you to the absolute, supreme authority of God.