Since my diagnosis I have maintained a fairly positive outlook. I still have not prayed for healing (though I am well aware many others are:-)). Instead, I pray for faithfulness, that whatever I encounter in this process, I would faithfully serve my King. Overall, I have found this keeps me centered, and keeps things in perspective in such a way that I am able to handle some pretty heavy emotions fairly well.
But not always. This morning I found myself irritated and short with Donna. (Last week Donna broke her “good” foot, and is now unable to walk at all. So, now I am back in the caregiver mode for her–and not always feeling gracious about it.) Surprisingly (he said sarcastically) I actually communicated this somehow. When she pointed it out, as she is wont to do, I had to step back and realize some things.
The threat of my death is hanging over us. While we both look forward to the resurrection, the separation and grief is still real. Even Jesus wept (John 11:35). The reason? He was watching a family grieve the death of their brother. EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW HE WAS GOING TO RAISE THE MAN IN A MATTER OF MINUTES. He felt the pain that is grief–a pain we were not intended to experience at creation. And he wept.
So, in the midst of handling things well, from time to time, I weep. I wept when Donna and I were holding each other and she told me “I don’t want you to leave me”. I told her I would never leave her, but I couldn’t promise I wouldn’t be taken. And I wept.
I wept when she told me she wanted input for a Christmas present she was planning to by me. We had agreed not to buy gifts for each other this year, and put that money toward our visit to Texas before my treatment. When I asked her why she was doing this in spite of our agreement, she became very quiet, and then said “I realized I may never get to buy you a Christmas present again”. And I wept.
I wept when I decided we should send photo Christmas cards this year to family. We don’t do Christmas cards, and I insisted on sending them individually to each of our grandkids, because it is remotely possible that this will be the last time they can get a Christmas card from Grandpa (yes kids, that’s why I did that:-)).
There are other things that, from time to time, make me weep about this process. None of them about me, or what I’m going through (though I admit I’m not jazzed about some of it:-)). I weep because of the pain death causes–the separation it creates that was not intended to be. I weep because the sting of death is sin (1 Corinthians 15:55-56). Death is because of sin. Mine, among other others.
So, while I intend to fight the disease and look forward to remission, I acknowledge the reality that I can’t control the outcome. Death is inevitable. And with Jesus, I weep–especially as I see the pain in the eyes of my family, friends, and congregation.
But that weeping isn’t the final word. I am faithful to Jesus in my imperfect way for one reason only–HE is faithful to me. He has defeated death, and promised me that mine will only be temporary. So, while I weep, I also know that, in the end, he will remove the very source of the tears (Revelation 21:4) from those who belong to him. The answer to the tears is our King. The answer is Jesus.