Sunday, August 18, 2013

all quiet on the western front

I'm sorry for the radio silence - I know it's not my norm. Believe it or not, it's in an effort to be respectful. There is SO MUCH on my heart and in my mind, but getting it out in anything other than face-to-face interactions is really difficult right now. My little friend Allistaire and her mom (my slightly bigger friend) and dad and sister are on the roller-coaster ride of having the specter of cancer breathing down their necks, clutching at their wrists. A young woman I used to babysit recently lost her husband of two months in a tragic accident. Grief is all around me.

Allistaire's bone marrow transplant was successful, in that it's engrafting in her body and appearing to set up shop. They are still in cancer's grip, because there's always the possibility that it's begun to grow again, despite the transplant. Each test is an opportunity to rejoice or mourn, because each test holds the gift of life just for TODAY or the potential for the world to come crashing down... but even good results today are no guarantee of good results tomorrow.

And when my friend is facing the possibility of watching her daughter die, how can I natter on about the minutiae of what I ate, what I cleaned, whether I exercised (answer: no), or what I'm doing today on Facebook?

I'm sure I'll natter about all those things again. But right now, I just can't. Right now, I simply gaze at the highlight reel of my friends' lives and am thankful for the comparative smallness of my own problems, which still keep me up at night and twist my stomach with pangs of concern (not QUITE as sinful as worry, right?). When Blake behaves atrociously at church and makes me want to knock him into next week, I sigh, rebuke him, and hold him close to tell him how much I love him, thinking about my friend who would cut off her right arm for the promise of scolding an eight-year-old Allistaire. I think of the child I used to cuddle who is now alone in an empty marriage bed, wondering what promise her life holds. Now what, Lord?

What a God we serve, big enough to weave painful things into the glory of His plan. I've seen it in my own life. I'm now breathlessly waiting, ever prayerful, watching to see how He is working His wonders into the lives of my friends. What a blessing to have my own life bear witness to His severe mercy, to comfort others with the very comfort I've been given. What an honor to stand in the throng of believers, holding up hope that there is goodness on the other side of grief, there is joy beyond the sorrow. There is life. Abundant life, no matter what today may hold. There is Christ. Thanks be to God, there is always Christ.