This month my family received some bad news. After months of watching my mother's health deteriorate without a clear reason, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer. We don't have a prognosis for her yet, and we won't until after she sees a haematologist. In the mean time, we're all doing our best to stay positive, and stay away from google. There are lots of new and innovative treatments that can give patients who respond well many years of symptom-free living. With that in mind there's still a lot of hope in these dark days.
One of the things I've realized in all of this is how lucky we are to have our faith. I have found myself turning to God for strength and as always He outdoes me in generosity. I haven't felt moved to the anger I would have expected considering the circumstances. I know I could easily get angry, shout at God, or get dragged down in thoughts of "why my family???". When I first heard the diagnosis I had one moment of sadness, a taste of the abiding grief that comes with losing a loved one. And then I took a deep breath and layed my sorrows in God's hands with complete trust. I realize that God didn't make my Mom sick. That's not how these things work. I know that if it is God's will my Mom will be healed. I also know that if He allows her to follow the more painful road of suffering, it won't be because He doesn't love her. I know God loves my mother immensely. I have witnessed first hand how precious she is to Him. Over the years, God has carried her through so many struggles (not the least of which was raising us three crazy kids). She has always found a way to put her suffering aside to find room for love, charity, and joy. If you knew my mother's whole story, you wouldn't believe that she should be as cheerful as she is. By the world's standards, she should be bitter, especially now as yet another struggle comes to her. But she's not. If my mother has taught me nothing else, she has taught me that nothing is too big (or too small) to lay in God's hands. I have watched her time and again choose love and forgiveness instead of anger and bitterness. When we say the prayer "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us", she is one of the few people I know who can stand in good measure as always forgiving as much as she can and then some. How many of us hold on to grudges over the silliest things? I have seen her forgive those little things, but also hurts of such incredible magnitude. She has been wounded, but she is not wounded. She trusts in God. This is her greatest lesson. Although I wish more of her craftiness and creativity had rubbed off on me, I can't deny how blessed I have been by her example of child-like faith. Just like my kids trust that my kisses can fix their boo-boos, she trusts that there is not hurt God's love can't take the sting out of.
Regardless of what happens, I want to be that example of faith to my children. If my Mom is healed, we'll all throw the biggest part this world has seen since Pentecost. If that's not in God's plan, we'll stand together and lean on Him, and make the most of however much time she is given with us. Whether it be a year or twenty years, whenever she makes her journey to Heaven, I hope we can find a little more of her faith and joy to bide us through our days. God willing that won't be for a good long time.