If you’ve followed my posts, you’ll know I recently enjoyed some time at Walt Disney World. While there, my daughters and I came upon The Festival of the Lion King show just as it was getting ready to start and we were able to sit right in the front row.The costumes, dancing, interaction and music were more than entertaining. It has been strange to me that the one song that keeps coming to mind from that performance is Scar’s “Be Prepared.” Try as I might, I cannot turn the lyrics from that song into something inspirational, amusing or even fun. I’m concluding that it’s the title and the forcefulness of how those two words were sung that have caused it to echo in my mind.
Spoiler Alert: This one is personal and deeply rooted in my faith. Read on if you would like, but if it’s not your cup of tea…join in another time.
In reflection of the past nine weeks, I’m confident that nothing could have prepared me for the plot twist our lives have taken. There was no way to know how I would respond to the suspicion and then confirmation that there was cancer in me. It’s not a scenario I had played out and even if I had, it wasn’t a reality until that moment. I cannot know what this is like for my husband or my children. I cannot know what this is like for my parents. They could not have known or been prepared for this news. I only know what I am feeling and even then, the feelings change so quickly sometimes it’s hard to put into words.
The day I had my colonoscopy I had joked with the doctor right before being put into that twilight sleep, that we needed this to go well so my husband would get his scheduled. He teased back that he’d lie if he had to. No one was suspecting anything. I can hear the doctor’s tender voice as he returned to the room with news that no one wants to hear. Later I felt so bad we had joked, yet that is how we approached this — without fear. The doctor was so kind and compassionate when he called the next day to confirm what was suspected and it was then I knew I had cancer. After calling my husband and telling him to please come home because “it is cancer” I let out two primal screams as I made my way to my favorite spot in the front room. They were loud and with an emotion that I cannot describe in words.
Even now as I recall these moments, I have to pause.
After the release of those screams, my hands went up with a strength not my own and I began declaring who God is!
It all happened in what seemed like one motion.
God, You are Awesome! God, You are Almighty! God, You are Alpha! God, You are Beautiful! God, You are Blameless! God, You are the Bright and Morning Star! God, You are Creator! God, You are my Comfort! God, You are Compassionate! God, You are my Deliverer, my Dwelling Place! And my voice continued in a strength not my own. The list continued as it had many times before when I have lay in bed unable to sleep. I could not have known this would be my response, but I’m so thankful that in that moment, I knew who God was (and is)!
You see, several years ago I heard a dear woman say that listing God’s attributes A to Z was her method of settling her mind. It has worked for me countless times and in a study some years back, the ladies in my group compiled quite an extensive list of attributes for each letter. Well, “Q” and “Z” aren’t extensive, but they are covered. I have repeated this list so many times and in a moment I could not have anticipated, it was a natural response.
Each day is filled with unknowns and questions. There are mental battles that I fight to stay in the moment and stay with what I know. Most days, these battles are pretty easy and when the fight is waged, it’s usually short lived. For that I am thankful. I am reminded daily how we cannot know how we will respond until faced with such battles and we cannot say how someone else should respond. This has been the most poignant reality of mercies and compassion that are new every morning.
Lamentations 3:22, 23
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
My God, Who I know, has given me mercies each day in the unknowns and in the questions.
I do not believe God has put this upon me. That is not consistent with who He is. I do not believe He was preparing me for cancer. However, I am confident that there is a peace that comes from knowing Him in this moment. There is a peace in that preparation. I am thankful I have not questioned who He is through this and that I am not questioning where He is in all of this. If those questions come, and they may, I am thankful that He is strong enough to handle all of that. Knowing Him in advance was the preparation I needed.
In all our humor and efforts to go about the dailiness of life, we are very aware of God’s presence. We are aware of His hand in our lives and there is peace in what is ahead. There is confidence in where we have been directed in terms of my care and our education in this cruddy period of our lives. We are extremely aware of how fortunate we are to be surrounded by supportive family and friends who continue to reach out in incredible and creative ways! THANK YOU!
People have said very kind things in regards to how I am “handling” all of this. Some times I’m not quite sure how to respond so I usually say “thanks” or nothing at all. I truly am trying to just handle this moment by moment. This has been the weirdest thing I have ever been through and I still have a ways to go so I think the weirdness will continue. I have my moments when the dog just lifts his head and must wonder what’s up. There are those moments when I yell “cancer sucks!” or just sob for a few minutes and say “I don’t want to do this.” But I can happily say, as stated before, those moments are brief. That’s reason to celebrate!
Back to the title and introduction.
Had anyone wondered about that or was a connection made?
I still cannot tie the scary lyrics of Scar’s big number to this post or my life other than the strength of the title. I have tried and I cannot. However, I can say with a thankful heart and a peace in my soul, that being prepared in knowing who God is, was all I can conceive could have prepared me for this moment and each moment ahead.
As a means to update:
Treatment number one is in the books! The plan is to have 11 more treatments. I receive several hours of infusion every other Monday and get to take home a stylish (cough, cough) little pump in a fanny pack of sorts for two more days. So for the next six months, this two week cycle will continue.
I cannot adequately express my thanks for your prayers, encouragement, support, meals, cards, gifts, texts, and love. All of these are included in the mercies that are new each day!