You know Churchill's line. What is missing from that quote, however, is a description of what Fear - Itself - looks like.
I met mine today.
Oh - it has been lurking around the edges since Sophia's diagnosis. Even before then, in vague waves of nausea at the thought of something bad happening to my husband or kids. Well, I got over that - seeing as how something bad has happened. I've stated I'm starting to see the beauty in this process, and I really am.
What I can't see any beauty in, what I only see as a huge - no massive, gaping blacker-than-black hole - is the thought of going through this again.
And that is what hit me in the face today.
I finally connected the dots with a mother I'd seen walking around. We'd met before in clinic but her daughter (who is 5 and had a different form of a tumor than Sophia) finished chemo. She was, in fact, released from treatment - port out and everything.
But I met her HERE. On the 9th floor of TCH. That's where all the cancer kids get their serious doses of napalm. They'd never been here before, except at the start of their initial treatment protocol. But they are here NOW.
Doctors, including ours, seem so confident when they rattle off cure rates. What we can never factor in is that cancer is a living, breathing organism. One that seems to have a mind of its own. And obviously it gets the idea to come back.
This little girl's did, with a vengeance. She is getting one of the most aggressive treatments I've heard of yet - nearly double Sophia's amount of chemo (and Sophia's treatment is no where near conservative, so you know).
I almost had a panic attack in front of this sweet mother. If it wasn't for the fact that we were wheeling our kids around on their IV poles, dodging nurses and all manner of objects - I would have broken down. I am at least 6 inches taller than her and I had an enormous urge to grab her in a bear hug and not let go.
But it was not the time. You see, she is already in a place where I can't reach today. She is on the other side of fear from me. She is in "do" mode. She rattled off the story from the last few months, what the schedule looked like and their t-shirt order saga.
She talked and I stood in awe of her, so like me but at the same time, so far beyond where I am.
Honestly, the thought of being like her is just flat out unbearable.
So, I don't bear it. I lay it down, as I always do when panic sets in. I can't carry the weight this girl's mother is. I can barely carry what I've got now. I don't know if I will be asked to carry this burden again, but if that day comes - I will surrender to it. At the same time, I quake in fear.
I read once that courage isn't about going on without fear. Courage is going on in spite of the fear.
This woman is extremely courageous. For all her tough exterior, I know she is afraid. But she is following the course her daughter has been given. That is all she is being asked to do, all she can do. She must walk her daughter through this valley of the shadow, one more time around.
So, I will pray. I don't know what or why The Lord allowed this back into their lives, but I can (and will) ask that He remove it swiftly.
And with the same breath, I pray He will deliver my girl from relapse. We all have a different path to walk, and I pray our journey on this one ends on schedule.