I am spending a lazy Sunday afternoon in my polka-dot pajamas, curled up in my bed. Outside the window, I am watching the last of a Texas spring snow melt away and trying not to think about how much I enjoyed the 70 degree temperatures less than 48 hours ago. In the other room, I can hear the little cowboys cheering and jeering their way through a new Wii game. Hubby is passing back and forth, cleaning out cabinets--due in part to boredom, and in part to a need for some spring cleaning around here. He's a good, good man.
This morning I got up early, got all fancied up in my best jeans, and headed to the church house. I haven't been to church in a month, and I HAVE MISSED IT. I am of the opinion that the command God gives us to "not give up meeting together" (Hebrews 10:25) is a lovely one indeed. We love our church. I was glad to be there when my boys practically skipped into their classrooms. I was glad to be there when I got hugs from friends, big and small, who I haven't seen in a while. I was glad to be there when "my" usher, Mr. Bill (who keeps mini chocolate bars in his coat pocket to give to the kids each week), opened the door for me and when I made eye contact with precious Ms. Dessie over the balcony railing and blew her a kiss. I was glad to be there to sing the words of the great hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." I was glad to be there to hear a sermon on what authentic worship is and what it is not.
I jotted this tidbit down in my notes: "Worship is done everywhere--even in the middle of crisis and disaster." What a timely reminder! I will be mindful of that when I go back to the oncology office on Wednesday for a chemotherapy teaching session. This session, slated to last 1 1/2 hours, will be Hubby and me and my parents, learning everything we ever wanted (or did not want) to know about chemo. She will tell us when my chemo sessions will be, what to expect, and what they think the drugs will or will not do to my body. They say that information is power, but I am scared of what I will learn at that appointment. I don't want to find out about a chemotherapy protocol that has been specially designed for me. I don't even want it to exist!
Even more than that, I dread what must happen after the appointment on Wednesday. Hubby and I must sit down with our sons and try to explain chemotherapy to them. I have the same knot in my stomach that I had four weeks ago when we told them that the cancer had returned. How can I explain to my children that the only way to fight is with more sickness? This seems even more complicated after a conversation I had with Goliath yesterday. He and I went out in the snow yesterday afternoon to run a few errands, and on our way back I stopped at the dry cleaners to pick up some clothes we had waiting there. It went something like this:
Goliath: Mom, what are we doing here?
Me: I need to pick up these sweaters so Dad has them for church tomorrow.
Goliath: Why are we going to church tomorrow?
Me: Ummm...because we always go to church. We haven't been able to go for a few weeks, but it's important that we are there to learn and worship.
Goliath: We just didn't go because of your surgery.
Me: That's right, buddy. Goliath, do you think that God stopped loving me because I got sick?
Me: And do you think that God stopped loving you and your brothers and your dad because you feel sad about me?
Goliath: Nooooo...that's not how it works. But Mom, I don't know why we have to talk about this, because you're not sick anymore.
My sons believe that I am well. They understand that I am not 100%--they see me resting and taking medicine--but as far as we can tell, they think that my release from the hospital meant that the cancer is over. This week will be a bad surprise for them.
This disease is my crisis, my own personal disaster. I am sad and scared. But in spite of that, I want to worship. I want to show my sons what real worship looks like, so they can draw from that when they are ready. God is not contained by my cancer or boxed in by my sorrow. His goodness and loving kindness reach far beyond my weakness. Even when I am hurting, I will choose to worship. Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. He is so worthy!
"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:1-2