Kara’s Collection: Grace and Compassion

from an article originally posted May 6, 2014...

I have been struggling with this post; I feel a bit wrung out by our week and the waiting, waiting, waiting for results. After I had the results that breast cancer wasn’t found, and more tests are going to be performed, I simply sighed.

I’m tired, I’m weary, I’m getting exhausted from the ups and downs. I want to rejoice in good news, I want to celebrate, but this journey has me very wearied. If cancer had spread to this new place, it would be a new low, but cancer has already invaded yucky places. So hearing it is not in this new place is a relief. But now, now we have to return to battling the other cancer. I return to the mouth destroying drugs, and hope, hope, hope for it to slow my cancer. Quiet this beast.

And the compassion I see, the love I know, the gentleness that meets me is that y’all are still here. My friends still show up, you are still reading these feeble words, and our champions are still in our corner cheering. We are weary, so weary of this journey with cancer. I’m feeling tired of this story. I want to invent a new one—one that is tidy and neat. But this is the story I have been given. You all send letters of love, reminders of goodness, sweet cards and gifts to lift my face when all I want to do is sleep.

I think every day I will have to wrestle with the life that is compared to the life I dreamed for myself. Every day I must choose to receive this story I never expected. I could never do that in my own strength. In my own strength, I would throw a fit and just stop living, moving, seeking grace. God’s great compassion and love meet me at the edges of my story I struggle to embrace. He loves me in that messy bottom. As I cry to choke down the pills, I know this story is not a mistake. This searching for grace is not an allusion. These edges give life a different hue, and in the searching for what matters, Jesus is always found there.

In the search, truth always rises to the surface. Reminders of grace are whispered to my tired heart. Each of you, my people, my man beside me, my community next to me, they meet me in this tired place, they push closer, nearer in sweet protection. And my tired doesn’t lift, but to be loved in that place. It’s the gift of compassion. I once lived in a land where I felt like a commodity to be used up-, and I was. But this place of grace I now know, I could never go back. This living free, trusting grace and not my own strength, this moving in each moment needy, well, this grace is like none other.

Thank you for being a safe place to be honest. I know you are weary too. Life—life in faith—it’s not complicated, it’s simply hard. Some days impossible. But the love of Jesus that meets us there, loves us even when we don’t want to choke down the story, and patiently, gently loves us to our next step. That compassion and love, well, it’s breathtaking. That grace gives us the strength to receive our story.