TITLE: Too Big For One
By Doris Thompson
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The warm morning air of August greeted me as I walked onto my deck. Bible, journal and my book in hand, I carefully set my cup of hot coffee down on the ledge and settled into my chair. The birds sang from tree to tree lending their chorus to the otherwise still morning. I watched as one bird – probably a robin – lifted its body almost off the branch in order to life his head to sing. I call it singing, but in truth it was more like a conversation from one to another.
Squirrels are different. They scurry from one limb to another, from tree to tree until they have made their journey around the tree studded yard. I couldn’t help but wonder if their bravery was just their nature. Surely the ease in which they jumped was built into them from the creation of the world. Otherwise they would hesitate, evaluate the situation, look it over with their gifted eyes, and then, only when they thought things were safe would they jump. Not so. Wherever they were going and for what purpose, I never figured out, but it started my time of quiet devotion for the day.
How does one lay aside fears and trust the creator whom we have not seen. How does one roll their burdens, sicknesses, and care onto to someone-everyone says cares for them unconditionally.
I was in a dilemma – a crisis of my own that morning, and I was truly asking qualified questions. God can stand questions. He remembers we are made from dust and frail in mind and body to attempt to carry life’s pressures alone.
“Miss Doris” she said into the phone. I stood there phone in hand and tried to listen and be calm. But how does one who is supposed to be a counselor who has the veneer of a sturdy well grounded rock, take news like this and maintain that façade?
“Yes dear” I reply in my steady voice knowing in a moment that what I was going to hear was coming from a broken heart full of questions.
“I have cancer”, she stopped to let it soak in. “I went for a biopsy this morning and the Doctor said he took a piece of mass that he is most sure is cancer.”
“OK” I interrupted, “when did this happen, what is happening, and how does he know you have cancer?” I knew the questions were not the right ones, but hoping to buy time, they rolled out of my brain and off my lips.
“I haven’t been honest with you. I got a bad blood report a few weeks ago, and the procedure I had today was a biopsy of my liver, Ms Doris they found a mass, do you understand me they found a mass!”
“I hear you sweetheart”. I didn’t want to hear what I heard – but I had to admit that her words sunk down into my already overwhelmed spirit. I’m glad I’m not built to carry a load like this for someone. No one is. It is a mega load and maybe I can help her get to the cross. If this wasn’t big enough, there was the ever present news that except for a few friends and family, she was ALONE. No one needs to feel alone in a big world that hands us responsibilities, daily life, stuff, burdens, sickness, cancer, responsibilities, and the list goes on. One so young does not need Cancer on top of a divorce, which she didn’t ask for. A business that is to be opened in two weeks, responsibilities, some she asked for, others that were thrown at her.
What tragedy can come next? I question as I set there watching those squirrels.
A squirrel is not my favorite little animal. They are a pest. They reek havoc on my bird feeders, they are overgrown rats, they are proverbial pest and I’m not sure why they are here living in my yard, climbing my trees, scurrying about as though they own the place – but woe I tell myself. Stop, listen and watch.
With her words still circling in and around my head, I watched the squirrels high above the ground, not looking down, not even thinking of what was below them. Only the journey they were on, and where they were going, with a built in trust they weren’t aware existed, and with total abandonment they jumped from limb to limb swinging with the branch as it swayed from the weight of their tiny body.
I wondered if Peter had a moment of total abandonment when he stepped out of the boat and started his journey to Jesus. I wonder if when he started sinking, he had looked down at the impossible waters beneath, and decided he couldn’t walk on water. I wonder if as the waves splashed under him it caused him to look down instead of the hand extended to him.
I don’t blame Peter. He was human. I don’t know that I would have been any different, had I been the one getting out of my boat. Doing impossible things is not a natural thing, it is super natural. Living with the looming dark cloud of cancer lurking in the foreground is impossible to do without glancing at its impending storm. Someone will have to walk the waves with me, someone would have to cause me to rise above the storm, and someone would have take my hand even though I look down at the stuff beneath that tends to shake the very foundation of my being. The water is not what we usually tread on. We take shelter from tornadoes. In an earthquake we lean against something sturdy even though the house that has been our haven may be shaking. So what do we do ? Where do we go when there seems No where to go.
It was not my lot to get all the answers for my friend. for I too am walking beside her during the crisis of her life. A husband who is plotting to take her children from her, a sickness that looks fatal, a business that looks doomed to fail, all coming together in a time when life should be good. The first 29 years have brought pain and distress, suffering and anguish of soul, countless people have left her so that now she doesn’t trust.
Oh that I were a squirrel this morning. I would take my friend and climb the tree above the flood, and together we could swing from limb to limb – from fear to freedom, from earthquakes to a floating cloud, from tears to laughter, from pain to peace, from impossibles to possibles. Together we will remember, “In the shadow of Thy Wings, I will take refuge until these calamities be over passed”, “Until this crisis, these crises are over, I will take my refuge under the Shadow of His Wings, and in His strength I will trust.” The God of impossible’s will be my refuge. The God of all Power will slay the giants I am not able to touch. The God of all omniscience will forever be with me in sickness and health. The God of impossibles will keep my feet from stumbling, but will make my feet like hinds feet and cause me to leap over walls of trials, and walk over mountains of pain. The God of battles will slay these giants in my path and keep me sfe. The God who owns the cattle on thousands of hills will supply my need, for He is My Shepherd and I shall not want. He will lead me beside still waters. He will restore my soul. He will lead me in paths of righteosness for His name sake,and yes, yes, a thousand times yes, If I walk through the valley of deaths shadow I will fear no evil, for He is with me. Amen
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