Well… I don't have to get my chemo treatment today as this is my "rest" week. That's a heehaw.
BUT…I do need to have scans done today to see if/how my body has responded to this lovely chemo regiment.
On Wednesday, I'll get the results.
Then on Thursday - unless I get an ALL CLEAR report (to which I would fall on my face in amazement, thankfulness, and shock) - I will be having a procedure to implant a port in my chest so that I don't have to keep getting chemo through my hand and it's tired-of-being-poked veins. Although there is a great benefit of not feeling the pain of a needle digging around in your hand trying to capture less-than-cooperative veins, I am not happy about having a chest port installed and predict that that will be a tough, emotional thing for me.
Yet another outward and "permanent" symbol of the spoils this disease has taken.
While I know through Scripture that the spoils cancer has taken are temporary, they are felt deeply by me each day as I live this thing out. From lack of body parts I once had, to lack of hair I once had, to lack of energy I once had, to lack to activities I once did, to lack of foods I once ate, to lack of pounds I once carried. Those are losses. They are felt. They are difficult to let go of and live contentedly. Impossible, I would argue, without also knowing the greater truth that Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Here's what I love about this passage: it's honest. It says it plainly… "Yep, Kristie, your body is becoming weaker. But, you are more than your body. And just because your body is under attack, doesn't mean your spirit has to be too. Just because your body is becoming weaker, your spirit can be moving in the exact opposite direction – toward great strength. And those troubles? Yep, they're troubles alright. Never want to try to tell you that they're not. But, Kristie, those troubles are short-lasting in light of eternity. And they are producing a mighty work. They are earning you a glory that so far exceeds the trouble."
And here's what else I love about this passage: The challenge. The challenge of "so what are you going to do about this?" So what are you going to do about your body failing at the same time your spirit has the opportunity to soar? Are you going to spend all your time looking at the deterioration? At your crazy wisps of hair that remain? Or the numerous scars on your body? Or the shrinking size of your frame? Or even the new bandages for this port that you'll have with you for the next few weeks? Are you going to keep your eyes there?
Are you going to look at the things you can't see, the things of promise included all through Scripture, the encouragement that comes when standing in His light and trading in your sorrows and fears for His love and His power?
See, it's still about the eyes. Where my eyes go. Where your eyes go. Do they fall prey to the loud, flamboyantly-waving arms of the direness of your circumstances? Do they desperately try to find a sense of peace as they only focus on the swirling, unstable ground those circumstances are creating? Or do they respond to the strong pull of the loving face of the Savior who speaks grace and peace and joy and truth and power into those circumstances? Who calms, and takes on our burdens, and releases us from darkness, and instills joy?
How I'd love to tell you that I've gotten this mastered: eyes only on His face. But that's not true. But what I can tell you to be true – after living in a pretty rough place for the past three months – is that there is NOTHING good or hope-filled about living with your eyes only on your circumstances. Been there. Done that. Nothing good comes. Just grumpiness, bitterness, frustration, and the sense that nothing will ever be okay again.
So, would you pray with me that my eyes – your eyes – be focused on the unseen reality around us? That we can acknowledge our troubles, but not give them far more power than they are ever intended to have? That we don't assume that what's happening in our circumstances is what also has to be happening in our spirits? That we can be renewed powerfully at the exact same time that our bodies and/or our circumstances are falling apart?
Hard stuff, but important stuff.