from an article originally posted August 8, 2014…
Yesterday a dear friend asked me if I was tired of this battle. I simply sent her this.
Which was totally unfair, because I know it made her cry. But it is a bit true—looking at these faces, I will continue to take the treatment. I know I’m fading. I know new corners of cancer are taking up residence in my body. I just know. But these faces, these blessed faces, make the swallowing of pills a little more bearable.
My kind-faced oncologist told me it’s time for my port to go back in soon. I simply wept. He awkwardly patted my back. He made false promises that one day it might come out. I smiled and called him an optimistic liar. He chuckled. I simply told him I would do it for my four little faces. I would. I told him I knew it would be an awful ending, but I would do my best to end well. The fading would be terrible, but I would find grace in the midst of terrible. It’s always been there, it always will be there.
I’m still swallowing the endless pills and fighting for good moments in bad days. They are there. They are precious. Today I was able to make a meal for a new baby in our church. My mom is here and helping. It feels nice, it feels normal. I’m thankful to help in a small way when I have been helped in such huge ways. The forming of meatballs feels right. The smells in my house remind me of goodness and grace.
So I will swallow the pills, look piercingly into the faces of my people, and I will keep moving into the next thing.
Last night we went to see Ray Lamontagne. It was a lovely night, and we met a kind momma and daughter. They were gentle, encouraging, and had a mountain of rain ponchos to share. They were delightful. Jason sat beside my quiet from my yucks and made new friends and told them our story. I love how proud he is of my fight. I love hearing him love on me through sharing my story of strength when all I feel is weakness. The biggest struggle was poor concert etiquette around us. A cigar smoker, a pot smoker, people standing right in front of us when it isn’t necessary. Standing without care that they are blocking our view. Standing without knowing I cannot stand. But I could peer around them. And I ponder over the world that takes no notice of the people around them. This couple stood in an awkward spot, drank endless drinks, smoked pot, and never were curious over those of us behind them. We were not on the standard spots, but the trees lining the sides. I was not upset at their entrance to our space. I was just sad that there was not courtesy of thought to those behind us. It was the same with the cigar that never seemed to be done. There is always a part of me that wants to say, Cancer is really not fun, when I see smokers. I want to tell them the awful of fighting this battle. But it’s ungracious, and I wouldn’t have once listened to me either.
So eventually the sweet mama and daughter and Jason and I left. Ray was only wanting to play his new music, and I wasn’t feeling at all connected to him. But Red Rocks, that place is my happy place. So it was not a bad night. I was in an amazing venue, next to my love. I was sitting under a poncho and the stars listening to a raspy, beautiful voice. We made new friends. So all the lack of kindness around us didn’t ruffle us too badly. But we were not sad to leave early and come home to our soft bed. But I tell you what—I didn’t leave Lyle early. The crowd, the people, the music—well, neither of us wanted to leave. We didn’t make it home that night until 2am. And we were tickled to have the energy for that evening. One evening I will never forget.
So give me Red Rocks and I will give you a smile.... Even if people come smoking, drinking too much, and talking loudly through the set. Even when they walk by vomiting and stumbling from a few too many. No, there is a particular grace for their brokenness. I have a fondness to those desperate to find happiness in life without knowing Jesus—I used to be them. I will sit quietly and be thankful for the moment. I may grieve the unkindness of the crowd. But I will still be happy sitting beside my love.
Yesterday, well, it was a hard day. I love my guy that he didn’t make me stay home even though I shuffled to our spot at Red Rocks like an old lady. He let me show up knowing how I love live music. He was not disappointed that I didn’t dance or have many words to share. He settled me into my crazy creek camp chair and let me sit in wonder at the beauty of Red Rocks.
So, I’m inwardly weeping over our new hard. I’m struggling with my fading. But grace has not stopped showing up for this lil mama. There are still songs to quietly sing along to, there are still little heads to kiss in the night, and I still am desperately in love with one man that walks this road next to me with beautiful tenderness. I always knew he was made of the most amazing stuff I have ever known—through this, it has been breathtaking to see his amazing love grow beyond what I could have ever imagined. I’m one richly blessed, broken lil mama.
So, there are tears in my singing and tears just sitting and thinking upon today. But that hasn’t given me liberty to stop. Nope—I get to keep moving, while moving is possible.
How are you moving in today? Do you see the grace? Even when unkindness and bad manners are present, do you still look for the grace. Or does your frustration make you stop looking? I was tempted last night to let the bad manners of others steal my joy, but why? Why? There was joy to capture. And no ma’am, I don’t want to smoke a bowl with you. Colorado, you make me giggle.