Traveling on

Two days ago I went to the city for another lymphoma, maintenance treatment. Being back in that environment, having chemicals dripping into my body to ensure a longer remission is a bit of a catch-22. Takes a few days to recover and about a week to forget about it until the next round. Happily, there will be only two more of them and then I will be a member in good standing of the Full Remission Club. Notice I didn’t say Full Cure Club. There is no real cure for cancer, there is only remission and that allows cancer to be considered a “chronic disease.” (Love that spin..) The war on cancer, begun decades ago by President Nixon, hasn’t been particularly  successful…more like a “mission accomplished” hoo-ha. Nevertheless, I am still standing and determined to make the most of whatever time is mine to love, learn, struggle, stumble, laugh, eat, dance, sing, or suffer through.

Suffer? Did someone mention suffering? Hmm, something so near, but not dear to my heart these past many, many months. How does one embrace suffering when it comes as a result of the innocent love of church and friendships? By Grace, that’s how, purely by grace, that mysterious unquantifiable essence of the Spirit of God.

My dear friend, ordinary (mostly) has referred to the struggles and pain in his congregation. I know a great deal about those struggles as they revolved around me and my partner of 32+ years. I will never be a fan of suffering, but I can tell you that the payoff is spiritually transformative and worth it in the end. It’s just the beginning and middle that are problematic. Traveling through difficulties and outright pain is helped enormously by prayer, supplication and plain old hanging on by the finger nails. (Cats do this very well on window screens…)

In bad times I have envisioned being weightless in a dark universe where I am alone, with God beneath me, like a transparent hammock holding me aloft. I have had  many dark paths, dark nights, dark days during the struggles in the congregation that I loved. Grace is there like a little flame lighting each step. This year I came to understand that faith is not about strength of character or certainty of outcome, i.e., being sure you will get what you ask for. It is about walking toward God when I don’t see clearly, trusting as best I can (imperfectly) and knowing mother/father God hears me when all I can say is “Help me.”

Jesus, help us live in peace from our blindness set us free.

Fill us with your healing love. Help us live in Unity.

I’m walking the bridge, following the light, and leaving no footprints.

4 Responses to “Traveling on”

  1. 1 ordinary (mostly)
    June 26, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    As I’ve walked from time to time with people who are facing the very real possibility of their own death from cancer (or other terminal illness), one thing that has impressed me is the calm and peace which may pervade everything that they do. Of course, people move through stages in the cancer journey, and a tranquil exterior may mask a very mixed up interior. However, I’ve often sensed what one may describe as the “peace of Christ” underlying the lives and the faith of those who face these struggles. I wonder if Christ, having faced death himself, is particularly close to those who seek him when they are facing their own mortality. And those, such as yourself, who have been granted time know how to make the most of it.

    Dance indeed.

    • 2 Naomi
      June 26, 2009 at 2:00 pm

      I believe Jesus does indeed make himself known to those facing mortality. He points the way home, as in I am the truth and the light. I saw this with my dear sister as she waited patiently and impatiently for her own end. Walking with her increased my own experience, put a bookmark on it, if you will. Thanks for your comment.

  2. 3 Judy
    June 27, 2009 at 7:57 am

    I just read the posting on Brian’s Blog. Substitute a couple names and places and the Acts story he references could be a story of 21st century life in some churches. I ache.

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