Life, In a Holding Pattern

Be still and know that I am God. -Psalm 46:10

Those of you who have had the pleasure of being my friends and family know that I am not one to be still. I am always on the move. Joining clubs, going above and beyond on school projects (I made it an effort to have each high school teacher save at least one of my projects as a future example), and switching between a number of hobbies in my free time, which means I leave my craft projects scattered unfinished around the house. So, when we found out our appointment with our neuro-oncologist is scheduled for January 4th, I was, to say the least, let down. 

 

This leads me to the big announcement, the most exciting thing for me since the removal of my staples at my follow-up appointment with Dr.Taub (aka the better hair, better surgeon version of Derek Shepherd). The removal didn’t hurt at all, by the way, but left me with a lovely bare strip of scalp and a three-direction part; maybe I’ll start a new trend. So, here it is, folks:

I have Stage II brain cancer

It is a surreal experience, at times, to wake up and remind yourself of this, to feel the barely-there baby hair growing in a thin line across the raised, healing scar in your scalp as you get ready, to feel weak each time you head downstairs for the morning, which you can only do once or twice on orders from your Occupational Therapist. But it is, and don’t fight me on this, a blessing. Yes, I do mean aside from the whole “God is using me through this” thing. Waiting, my family has learned, is a gift from God. Remember that next time you’re sitting in the E.R. for four hours because your kid sliced his head open climbing a tree and needs stitches. Syncopal episodes and brain tumors get you an E.R. room immediately. If it were Stage III or IV cancer, I would likely have begun chemo before I left the hospital after surgery. Instead I am given time to heal, be still in God, and enjoy time with my family. Waiting is a blessing; and it couldn’t come at a better time of year. Christmas.

 

I have always been in love with Christmas. I blame my mother and father, who lavished our home with not one, but two Christmas trees. The mantle glows with garland behind the stockings, the staircase banister is wreathed with greenery that shines like hundreds of shrunken stars, and each Christmas morning a corner of the living room is unreachable, barricaded by a barrage of impeccably wrapped packages. I am, among other things at the season: a caroler, a present-wrapper, and a textbook over-spender. Each year, the moment we return from Thanksgiving dinner at my Nana’s (and the mandatory follow-up nap), my mother wrenches the attic door open and hauls out the first tree as my dad puts on the holiday classics. Each year, as she wrenches the door open, my heart opens with thankfulness and an indescribable warmth Christmas brings. With that warmth is a melancholy feeling that buries itself within the brightness of the lights, a sweet sadness the meets my eyes each time I gaze into the lights. Because as childhood ornaments are hung, as the world ceases its chattering and comes together over cookies for Santa, my heart sings praises of peace to God; and each year, I know it will all disappear too soon. The world will live in the lull of the holidays for too short a time before returning to its bickering, bustling self, and life will resume. I will do the same. In the bustle of the New Year, though, I will occasionally (when I’ve just received a poor test grade and am tempted to pout) put on my Michael Buble Christmas album and remember what it’s like when the world stops to take a breath, moves closer to God, and remind myself of how thankful we should all be for the blessings He has given us in times like these.

I am forever thankful God has commanded me to “be still” during this season, when I am surrounded by lights and family, spending my days wrapping presents and baking sweets. There are times I am so wrapped up in wrapping presents I forget I am “sick” at all. This ends, of course, when my mother swoops in to carry the present to the tree for me, or wrap any present over ten pounds (again on orders from the Occupational Therapist). She isn’t a painful reminder from God, however, but a blessing who smiles sweetly down at me and asks which paper I want her to use. 

Remember not to let the light and warmth of the holidays leave you, even when the presents are opened and you’ve fallen behind on your resolution. For God’s gift to us is good year-round, not just when twinkle lights shine in shop windows. During this season of all seasons, give Glory to God in the highestand on earth peace and good will towards men. ~Luke 2:14

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