Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)
TITLE: Roller-coaster Ride
By June Dickie
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At first it had been disbelief – this couldn't be happening to us. Not Ann, who always was careful about her eating, her exercise. Anyone else, but not Ann!
Slowly the reality of the situation had settled in our minds, and treatment had begun. "How’s Ann doing?" people had asked. A shrug of the shoulders and an offhand "ok" had seemed appropriate. Apart from loss of hair, which was easily covered with a pretty scarf, Ann seemed much the same. Her bald head only served to accentuate her lovely green eyes, and when her friend Jan came to visit, they sat down on the floor together to examine a crocheted blanket Jan was completing. My "big sister", always so capable and busy, creating beautiful hand-smocked outfits for her own daughters, was now unable to finish the gift she had begun for her soon-to-be-born grand-daughter. But she looked relaxed and happy as I took a photo of her and Jan, arms around each other, smiling into the camera.
A few weeks later when I made the two hour visit to her home, I was shocked to see the change. Ann, always so disciplined about her weight, and looking so slim and vibrant at her 60th birthday party last year, was now gaining a midriff, and her delicate face-features were flat and puffy. Inside I was weeping as I gave her a kiss – my dear sister so affected by the drugs.
A week later her daughter came to visit, bringing little Rachel, just six weeks. As Belinda walked into the house, carrying her precious bundle of delight, tears filled Ann's eyes. There had been days when she had feared she would not live to experience this moment, but now, here in her lap, was her first daughter's first daughter!
Over the next days, as I talked to Ann on the phone, her voice was strong and happy. My spirits soared.
"But they don’t seem to want me to hold the baby", she added, and I felt her pain.
I am just back from another visit. Each day was so busy, and yet between the trips to the bathroom or the cutting up of food, I would marvel at her grace and patience. She, who had been so independent and strong, had to rely on others for her most basic needs. Her humility humbled me as the sweetness of her inner spirit was squeezed.
Some nights I slept in the same room as Ann, to give her husband a good night's rest. Those nights I would help her roll over every few hours, or give a pain-killer to relieve her sore back. In the long hours of darkness, I would lie there, almost deadened to thought, but crying out to the Lord ... for mercy, for healing, and above all, for her to know His presence.
This recent visit there were some funny moments, and it was good for the three of us to have a chuckle. One day the meal was over and her husband was getting Ann an ice-cream cone. His plate, with some potato, was still on the table, as I saw her hand slide over and pop the morsel into her mouth! There were also funny-sad moments, when the tumor in the brain caused reality to be distorted. And there were moments of intense pain, as I watched her shuffle to the bathroom, bent over and battling.
Where does one go with such a plethora of feelings? How can I find a place of peace within the ups and downs? The book of Psalms seems to provide the outlet we need. Rich with raw emotions that give vent to our distress, words of encouragement as we remember the character of our God. His "steadfast love", mercies new every morning, the assurance that He is with us, even in the storm-tossed boat. Depths of pain, but heights of hope; an ever-widening chasm, and yet embracing arms that cover and hold tight. A refuge, a strength, a very present help in trouble. The One who can receive my array of emotions, and respond with a settled calm. My Lord, who rides the roller-coaster with me, who holds me on His lap, and who sings to me His song of assurance.
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