Have you ever gone through a situation or been sick so long that you hate life? You’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Or maybe something else has sucked the joy from your soul.
We’ve been going through a crap storm since the spring of 2013, long before I got cancer. I won’t rehearse all the lovely details of our very interesting life. But I will say that just in the last few months the transmission in our only vehicle gave up the ghost. By the time we finished, the replacement/repair cost almost as much as the Bluebook value. Yep. That’s how we roll. And David has had reoccurring kidney stone attacks that are so painful he thinks he might die and wishes he’d hurry up. Hopefully this is not too graphic but he passes dozens at a time. The pain is so bad he actually breaks out in a cold sweat and heaves like there’s no tomorrow.
Meanwhile, it seems my innards love cancer and want to invite it back. So in an effort to thwart that evil plan, my doctors are trying different medications and hormone therapies. I’ve been so sick and so dizzy that I can barely function. Along with the numerous drugs also comes depression. I’m talking full blown, straight from the pit of Hell, hopelessness that grabs my soul and pulls me into a dark hole so deep I hardly care if I ever see the light of day again.
One day I got a text.
Our granddaughter needed a place to stay during spring break. Since she lives in Illinois, but attends college in S.C, she thought it would be great to hang out with her N.C. grandparents for about a week. She planned to explore Salisbury and assumed I’d be a great tour guide. That’s when I realized we are opposites. She loves being in the mix while I love being by myself. However, she burst through the door like Tigger, bouncing from room to room exploding all over the house with laughter and energy I am no longer accustomed to. She jumped from behind a door scaring the pee out of me and I squealed like a little girl. As she held her side laughing I pointed a finger in her face and warned that if I keeled over with heart failure she’d better put a hat on my head before the paramedics came.
She found a gift basket that I had not unpacked to suit her. From it she pulled a book about thriving during cancer. With a hand over her heart she read with the voice of a sappy narrator, one cheesy saying after another, similar to this:
“When God closes a door He will open a window.”
She had me laughing hard enough to do the potty dance. Eventually she gathered her things from every room, crammed them in a bag, hugged me too hard, and headed back to S.C. As we waved goodbye, she happily munched on Chex Mix made by her Poppy, set her GPS, cranked up Spotify and put the nose of her Jeep in the wind. As I walked through the house checking for fall-out, miraculously I only found one sock cowering under the bed. I prayed she’d be back for it soon.
A week later her mom Stephanie, our oldest daughter, came to stay with us at the end of a women’s conference she had spoken at. Her local sisters also came for the day. Though I can think of nothing more encouraging than having all three of our daughters here with me, surprisingly depression hit again that night. As Stephanie gently tried to help me through it, I rehearsed all the things I was currently thankful for and wondered why despair had consumed me. She wisely commented.
“Like a headache that comes and you have no idea why, depression is similar. Stop beating yourself up and feeling guilty for something you have no control over.”
I pondered her words and prayed for help as I cried myself to sleep still wondering why.
The next day her daughter skipped class and came up to visit her mom whom she hadn’t seen since Christmas. Once again she had me laughing as she read the little book full of cheesy words to her mama. I gave her the dusty sock, hugged them both goodbye a little harder than I normally would’ve, waved til they were out of sight and prayed.
“Lord, with all the sick and discouraged people in this world, help me to do three things. No, make that four. Help me make somebody laugh, for laughter really is great medicine. Help me to have a listening ear and a gentle word to relieve someone’s burden. But most of all, keep my lips from a multitude of verbiage and cheesy platitudes which don’t help.
And PLEASE give me wisdom enough to refrain from stuffing my ample rear end through a window just because You happen to close a door.