Thursday, January 24, 2013

Beauty When A Heart Breaks

On a walk at City Park
Living in such a flurry the last couple of months, well eight really, the last several days have been slow.  Aunt Margarita left today, it was great to have her here.  The girls have a renewed excitement for going on walks as it was a special treat most days she was here.  I am going to have to learn how to function outside such intense pressure and to cook again.

Esther finished her third radiation treatment today, 17 to go.  Please pray this eliminates any microscopic, stubborn cells that may cause Esther to relapse.  I have found myself fighting fear of relapse the last few days.  I think I understand what it means when we are told others could not weather this journey because I don't think I would make it if Esther relapsed.  There is enough worry for today, I've been telling myself this over and over.

Our friends, the Fryes, did have confirmation that Suzanne's tumor is malignant.  It is an extremely rare cancer, so rare that very little research has been done and there are only a few centers that have ever treated this tumor.  The shortened version is that she has Adrenal cancer.  They aren't sure the tumor was fully removed and there may be cancer cells in the margins around the tumor.  The family is doing research and consulting with facilities that have treated this type of cancer. Collin was diagnosed with AML Leukemia in August.  He did not respond to the first two chemotherapy treatments.  For the third treatment they used a more experimental therapy used in relapse. Collin's body responded, and he went into remission.  They are praying God would give them the same mercy for Suzanne's life, that when the light of day is black, there would be a shining grace.  Here are some specifics from the family:

  • Wisdom and God's leading for us as we try to absorb a lot of information from many sources and then make a fairly quick decision about which place(s) to go for evaluation and where to pursue Suzanne's next step in treatment.
  • Some periods of quiet and rest in the midst of the new flurry of activity to be able to absorb the reality of our new circumstances and hear from God how we are supposed to go about this.
  • Freedom from fear and discouragement for Suzanne, especially as she considers all the possible implications of this.
  • The same especially for Caroline, Collin and Ethan as we try to guide them in dealing with their own concerns about their mommy and what the future holds for our family.
  • The same again for myself and all of our close family that are fully engaged in this, as we try to provide the right support to Suzanne, Collin and the other kids at the right place and time.
  • God's mercy to be poured out again in this situation, much like we saw with Collin's sudden remission just six short weeks ago. 
  • That He would stem the tide of growth of any of the cancer cells that remain in Suzanne's body, while we quickly seek out next steps for treatment. 

This family is living a nightmare anyone would confess to not being able to survive.  I am temped to say I couldn't imagine, the reality is that it's just too painful to enter into that kind of empathy.  God wants us to weep with those who weep, there is beauty in that kind of empathy and God meets us.

Tonight I watched the movie "October Baby."  It was good, a worthwhile watch and I was moved by the subplots.  Maybe it's because I am emotional today or something, but I felt like I could related to the main character a bit.  Not in the direct theme of the movie, but because I often wonder how life will ever return to normal.  The soundtrack is good.  I was struck by the lines of a couple of the songs...

The world is broken in too many pieces
But the brokenness is beautiful, it's beautiful.

How can brokenness be beautiful?  How can this world, broken in too many pieces, ever be beautiful?!  HOW?!

Life is full of hardship, and it all matters.  God doesn't look at our trials and change the way he comforts or cares for us according to the severity of the trial.  He cares about it all.  All of our brokenness is met with equal love and care from a God who hears, but we've got to take it to Him. A line in a different song in the movie caught my attention....

I woke up this morning
And I heard the news
I know the pain of a heartbreak
I don't have answers
And neither do you
I know the pain of a heartbreak

This isn't easy
This isn't clear
And you don't need Jesus
Till you're here
Then confusion and the doubts you had
Up and walk away
They walk away
When a heart breaks

When a Heart Breaks, Ben Rector 
(there's a link to listen below)

When our world is broken and in too many pieces, hope can not be in the pieces fitting together.   Most of the time we don't have control over the pieces before us.  Our striving is in vain, we are not the architects in this life.  This will cause heartbreak.   We can't avoid the pain, and our heartbreak is a gift as we are renewed in our need.  Over the last 13 years of my life, I have needed Jesus as my Savior, yes, every day.  But in my heartbreak, I enter into a vivid need...when I've screamed at my children, hurt a friend, wept over the lives of little children, admitted my own hurts, I've realized this full color need.  In those times it is beautiful and the confusion and doubts walk away because I'm open, raw.   Suddenly life is simple. My heart is broken and spilled out before the Jesus I didn't realized I needed in my pain, as well as my sin.  That Jesus loves me and has a hope and future for me.   Even if life is one heartbreak after another, and I have to wait until Heaven to escape any of it, He is good nonetheless.  That is beautiful.

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