I've posted, in 3 Rules for living with (a kid with) Cancer, that you have to be ready for anything at anytime. Well, that rule was in effect yesterday. Sophia complained at lunch that something was stuck in her throat. At 3, her throat was intensely sore. At 5, she had a fever to match. Nothing that warranted her going to the ER, technically, but it was rising fast and she was majorly uncomfortable. So - I took her anyways. Dave and Natalie stayed home, both quite upset.
I keep thinking we are on the brink. One of us will have a breakdown from exhaustion, stress, you name it. Like feeling the wind rush by you as you look over the balcony of a tall building or off the edge of a cliff - just before you fall off.
Last night, as Sophia was sleeping on me in the ER waiting room, I texted a friend, saying "I'm hanging on to the last shreds of peace."
There are a lot of shreds I'm hanging onto. Peace, grace, dignity, self-reliance, intellect, strength - might as well through sanity in the mix.
In the midst of it all - as I'm grasping to hang on to these things slipping through my fingers - as the winds blow past and the storm rages - there is a center.
Others have known that feeling. David when he was being chased by Saul. Elijah when he was being hunted by Ahab and Jezebel. Paul was flogged, stoned, beaten, shipwrecked, jailed, falsely accused, freezing, starving. Job is the archetype for suffering.
For me, though, the ultimate example of knowing how I feel - Someone who had to let go of everything, willingly but painfully - is Jesus. His emotions and body were literally in shreds when He went to the Cross. But His Spirit was intact. The flesh maybe weak, but where the Spirit is willing - all things are possible.
Jesus dressed Himself in shreds of disgrace and went to the most shameful death of His time (and arguably ever) in order to do what The Father asked. As a result, He was elevated to the highest seat in the Heavens.
He did not scorn the shreds of Himself, but embraced them in true humility. The IVP New Testament Commentary defines humility as this:
Humility is thus not to be confused with false modesty ("I'm no good") or with "milquetoast," that kind of abject servility that only repulses. Rather it has to do with a proper estimation of oneself, the stance of the creature before the Creator, utterly dependent and trusting. Here one is well aware both of one's weaknesses and of one's glory (we are in God's image, after all) but makes neither too much nor too little of either. True humility is therefore not self-focused at all but rather, as further defined by Paul, considers others better than yourselves.
I must recognize there is something more powerful at work here. These shreds of me and our family are being knitted into love; kindness; gentleness; self-control; faithfulness; greater peace and yes, even joy. (Galatians 5:22-23). You can never go wrong with these but the process of really getting them is long and hard.
I am willing and there is evidence of all of this fruit in our current situation. Not everyday, but more and more I see that I am changing into a wife and mother that is all in for my family. It's sad and shameful to let go of my own dreams but just as He did for Christ - The Father will create something out of our story I can't even imagine right now.
It's a long dark season for our family. But as Matt Maher says "Even in the dark, you can still see the light. It's gonna be alright."
And seasons change.