I’ve been thinking about where Kevin and I “should” have been right now. Kevin should have been a week into his TIL therapy treatment in Washington D.C. This was to be a huge battle, the biggest yet. It was to involve chemotherapy, IL-12, and various other forms of torture intended to give him his best shot at a total cure. We were geared up for battle. We had the house cleaned out, de-germed and ready. We had plans for the kids. We had winter coats for the icy D.C. weather, for goodness sake.
As for me, I’d given a lot of thought about how this next chapter of the story was going to be told. After the craziness of plan E falling apart and plan F coming together in supernatural signs and messages from God, I felt pretty proud that we’d been trusting Him and we were really going to glorify Him in this next treatment. Pretty silly, huh?
We were going to be in the hospital for Valentine’s day. I was going to do something amazing, maybe some tear-jerking craft off of pinterest, and it was going to be a beautiful, inspirational little story. We were going to go through the forty days of lent with a hellish treatment and recovery and would be receiving his first set of scans around Easter. What an amazing story to tell that was going to be! We were literally going to walk through the desert for forty days and then celebrate Christ’s resurection with an amazing announcement of clear scans. I was just sure of it! It was going to be the kind of story that people would forward on Facebook and people would cry over a video montage about it, for how inspiring it was going to be.
I couldn’t have come up with such a beautiful story myself. I was so amazed and grateful and frankly, a little excited that this was what God had planned for us. Here we had waited and trusted and fought for so long. And now THIS was the way He was going to heal him. It was going to be hard, but boy was God going to be glorified. And we were going to get to be a part of that. Because we’d trusted Him. Heck, Kevin was even going to lose his hair from chemo and finally look like a “real” cancer patient. I’d definitely need to get some beautiful, touching photos of that. It was just going to be so inspirational.
Instead, I am sitting on the porch waiting for a bottle of pills to arrive on a UPS truck.
Somehow, we’re not feeling quite as inspired about plan G.
Is it the lack of drama? Heck no, we’ve had more than enough drama to last us a lifetime. Two weeks ago, when Kevin’s liver started shutting down and we truly thought he was going to die in the next couple of weeks, I think I would have given anything to be handed a bottle of magic pills that would make him better, even if I knew it would be temporary. But now that it’s what we’re getting, we’re struggling to even really believe in these magic pills. It’s hard to have hope in a bottle. Especially when you already know how the story goes… phenomenal success turns into devastating recurrence.
We had wanted to go visit one of Kevin’s childhood friends who lives in Sacramento while we’re in the (sort of) nearby area. The plan was to leave as soon as his medicine showed up. I’ve been packed and ready since 8AM when the UPS tracking said the package was out for delivery.
It’s 6PM and we’re still here. I suppose it’s just as well since Kevin seems to have gotten a cold and is taking another nap while I watch the door like a hawk.
I’d been sitting around all morning out on the front porch or chasing a small pocket of sun to stay warm. I wish I could have taken a walk today, but didn’t want to risk missing the package delivery since it requires a signature. As I’ve sat out here for most of the day, alternating between reading good for me stuff like devotionals for lent and putzing around on Facebook and mommy blogs, I started thinking about what lent might really mean for me. I’d thought that we’d have this dramatic and beautiful picture of walking through the desert for forty days. I pictured moments of solitude in prayer and with a “quiet and gentle spirit” giving up something really important for lent.
Instead, we have endured whirlwinds of travel, hospitals, doctor’s visits, scans, blood draws, more scans, more blood draws, and finally, a short blip of peace for this week where we have run away. I don’t want to go back home. I don’t want to embrace this next season that is so different than I had envisioned. I’d pictured new life and redemption.
Instead we have… what? There is something. Something to hope for, but we don’t know exactly what it is just yet.
I don’t want to give anything up for lent. I just want to give up. That’s it! I give up! And so I think about this idea a little more, instead of giving up just one thing, what if I really could just give up? What if I could give up the whole idea of everything I’ve been holding in my mind? Everything I’ve been trying to push and squeeze into some beautiful vision, purpose, plan. What if I could just give up on everything?
I bet the disciples wanted to give up. After years of following Jesus, seeing things really heat up with all these cool miracles and raising people from the dead and stuff, when things really got crazy and Jesus got arrested and crucified, I bet they just wanted to give up. I bet they thought about how perfect it was all going to be… this amazing man, the Messiah, God with us, who was going to reign as king and you know, kick out the Romans and stuff. It was going to be so awesome. Until it wasn’t.
I remember that moment, sitting next to Kevin in the infusion center, when we realized that all of our own plans were falling apart. All of our dreams that we’d hung on this treatment, this treatment that we’d SO believed had been divinely led, when it all just went to crap. I wonder if that’s just a tiny bit of what the disciples and Jesus’ other followers were thinking? Kind of a great big, “WTF man?” Sorry, yes I just abbreviated a cuss word in a blog about faith. I know I was certainly pretty pissed at God. And I absolutely believe I would have been just like Peter denying Christ to someone who didn’t even matter because I was so disillusioned.
I. give. up.
I give up this idea that God’s got it all under control. I give up this idea that God’s got some perfect plan laid out. I give up this idea that I’m going to always trust Him and follow Him perfectly and glorify Him in these beautiful and inspiring ways. Thankfully, even though I’m such a screw up with this whole perfect faith and being willing to trust part, Jesus still tells me to come.
Matthew 11: 28-30:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
All I have to do is come to him, and then I can give it all up. Thank God.