(Our backyard. Texas has never had such green grass but the rain has been a blessing in many ways.)
A few days ago we were swamped with a rain front and I simply couldn't help myself. While all the fuzzy dogs cowered inside, I stood outside in the rain and closed my eyes to let the cool water washed over meas the billions of drops fell in sheets at a time. My heartbeat slowed and my breathing fell into soft rhythm. It was a welcomed relief to the storms raging in my heart.
I doubt I will be able to adequately convey here the fronts that have been brewing inside me but I promise to be open and as painfully transparent as possible.
While I know that I am not alone: God is ever with me, friends and family back home are praying for me, and I have seen time and again that God creates encounters of prayer and encouragement whenever I go; the feeling of being alone can still feel extremely magnified at times.
Yes there is family here but it isn't the same. Most are busy with living and too scared to look at Daddy's declining health so they don't come over at all. One that does come maybe once a week does so with "baggage" and "borrowing needs". Then as I get a hug goodbye I am given a pat on the cheek and with one single breath proclaims, "You are so easy to read. I see you have something on your mind and I sure would love to know what it is. Well have a good week." And the door closes.
It is okay. It is all the reach out that person can do.
A couple of others have encouraged me for months to learn the layout of the road system (which I must say is the dumbest most confusing road layout I have ever driven. There is no logic or pattern to get anywhere...at all) but then as I have successfully learned how to navigate the basics they have been hurt and offended that I can be self sufficient. They feel un-needed and there is an underlying unspoken panic that says I am replacing them.
It is okay. Being providers is how they are able to deal with their levels of cope and grief.
Daddy is a quiet enabler. For example, I have learned that when we are 30 minutes late in being picked up for a doctor appointment he doesn't say anything. He smiles and makes small talk and then creates excuses at the check in counter about the imaginary traffic we encountered along the way. I asked him recently why he doesn't address the issue. His reply was that he didn't want anyone to feel bad or think that they are not important anymore. While I could reason and talk my way around that type of thinking pretty easily, the bottom line is that it is his choice and he doesn't want to create pain for anyone.
So I will respect that and do nothing. These patterns were set into play long before I arrived and it is not for me to create tension. (And I'd like to acknowledge here that I am not condemning or putting anyone down. I am simply trying to explain the technicalities of living in a place not of my own. )
It has taken me a while to come to this conclusion though. As with most things, it takes me a while to muddle through and figure out the direction God wants me to point in. That is partly because the spinning static in my mind makes too much noise for me to remember to stop and hear and partly also because I dig my heels in the ground and want to argue.
As the lives of my growing children are changing and adapting to me not being at home, as daily things happen to my husband, family, and friends that I can never have as a personal memory; I have wanted to stomp my feet and shake my finger in protest at what I have considered to be the injustice here. "Can you even consider what I have put on hold and given up to be here and help? Do you not see and understand even a portion of the sacrifice?"
And then God reminded me that somewhere along the way I switched my dependence to those around me for my security, my well being and my identity instead of focusing on Him to be my all sufficiency. Having my family and friends around as encouragement in daily living is a fringe benefit but He is supposed to be my all in all.
Yes I miss the beauty and comforts of home. I miss the corny jokes of my girls and their friends that remind me to look beyond the obvious and take joy in the simplest of things. I miss seeing that look in my husband's eyes that says I am beautiful. I miss my church home. Every week that I go to my sister's church I purpose to reach out and introduce myself to people even though my information cards have never been answered in all the time I have been here and it reminds me acutely how special my church at home is to strive to make sure no one feels alone. I miss my dog. Some would say that is ridiculous, especially when I am surrounded by 5 here, but God put that lil' guy in my life to answer a need and heal something in my heart that I thought could never be healed. In so doing, I am irrevocably attached to him and want nothing more than to curl up on the floor with him and not let go. I miss being able to be in the same room with my mom and laugh so hard over the simplest thing that I can't breathe.
But God has put me here for now for a reason and that has to remain my focus. When I close my eyes I can see His angels of encouragement holding up my arms and He is right next to me whispering in my ear that I am not alone.
So, those are the main things that I have been trying to come to terms with. I have sat down so many times to try and write it out but ended up shaking my head futilely to a blank screen. I realized that I was even not wanting to talk on the phone with calls from home because I couldn't explain and I felt empty. Now I am pulling out of it and I am so grateful.
I should update you on other things as well.
* Daddy started chemo on Wednesday. For this round we chose to do the IV drip only and dose it at 50%. This form of chemo builds in his system and hangs on for a long time. Now that it is day 4 he is beginning to feel the effects. The hot zone on the inside of his mouth has returned and he is quite fatigued but that is all. While we would love for there to be no symptoms at all, we are grateful that these are easy to manage and pray that the other effects stay away.
* I talked with my mom a couple of nights ago and she is still having a time of it after her surgery. Her incision is still infected and refuses to close even though it has been a month. It turns out that her surgeon gave incorrect care instructions for healing and now they are going to have to re-open her incision to adequately get rid of the infection and promote healing. Goodness how many times I have shouted gratefulness in my heart that her longtime childhood friend is there visiting and helps her to laugh away the frustrations.
* In three weeks I will be flying out to our eldest daughter's wedding and then staying in Portland for 3 weeks. Yes I am very anxious.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Thank you for "listening" and understanding.
I pray for you to have a blessed and destiny filled week and that you realize just how important and cherished you are.