This will not be a happy, rambling, blog full of rainbows, butterflies and things that look like teletubbies but are not copyright protected. Not that many of my blogs have lived up to that lofty, Muppet-esque, goal as of late. But my goal all along has been to be honest about this experience. I can't talk about "choosing joy" in all your circumstances (which was really said by James long before I said it) and then not be honest about the times, of which there are many, that I just can't seem to make that choice.
I tweeted/twittered/twitted today, "God is good. Life is crap. Tired of living just to die." It's true you know. I believe God is a benevolent being, who looks nothing like a flying-spaghetti-monster, seeking what's best for us. I assume He'd prefer we ate less fats, stopped lying and were more open to trying foods of other cultures, again, with less fats. God saves my butt all the time. A few days ago Kristin and I were wondering how we would pay rent, my life insurance and other large monthly bills while our bank account was currently in overdraft. Through generous donations and the selling of some of our furniture God has provided us enough to cover those bills. Here's where the "warning" comes in as I'm about to either blaspheme or question God, depending on your outlook: But He always leaves it so close. Plus, just as things like the money problems find a temporary solution, our car falls apart. Then, just when the car seems to be resolved, we receive a letter denying us health benefits and denying Kristin's unemployment. God puts a job in front of us that would be perfect for Kristin and provide me with much needed, potentially much cheaper, insurance; We're even told by muckety-mucks (I will NOT reveal my sources.) in the office that it looks good... and they decide not to fill the position.
All my friends seem to slip farther and farther away. Yes, I've made some new friends. But I'm talking about people who've dealt with you long enough that they know you almost as well as anyone. People you've had deep discussions with at two in the morning. I get more and more tired of hearing, "We really need to hang out," or "I really want to make it over there." You want to know a secret? For the most part, if anyone really wanted to do anything... they would. I am tremendously thankful for the new friends I have and the few old one's (really there's just a couple) that have either stuck around or come back around. But the old, "I just don't know what to say," excuse has worn thinner than the welcome mat at the Planned Parenthood near campus the day after "the big game". (I wish, for the record again, that I could have made that joke using the Lane Pregnancy Support Center instead. Not a fan of the whole abortion thing. I don't honestly think many people are. But, as long as it's legal, I'm also not a fan of picketing, bumper-stickers, snipers or plastic-explosives... any kind of explosives. Steve Taylor wrote a great piece of satire, in song, several years ago called I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good. Please remember, this is satire. It's showing us how stupid the concept of saving lives by ending a life is.) Now even my friends are starting to get annoyed with me. I say, "I'm sorry," too often or ask, "Is that ok?" too much. They don't understand how hard it is to slowly lose yourself. Chemo takes my short term memory, my strength, my endurance. I'm not apologizing as much as I'm reaching out in the hopes that someone will understand.
OK, now that I've offended or intrigued at least half of you... let's continue. I want to re-iterate that God is good. I'll even admit that, for the most part, life is good. It's this cancer that I hate.
Today I read that my aunt Diane, who I grew up calling Auntie Di (which I think had a lot to do with Princess "Di". But who knows really?), is reacting really well to her cancer treatment and will soon be in remission and maintenance. This means, in all likely hood, that her struggle with this ruthless disease will soon be over... in a good way. I wish I could say I was instantly flowing with joy for her prognosis. I wasn't. (Sorry Auntie Di, it's not personal.) I was numb. Just numb. I have since, you'll be happy to know, experienced great joy in the fact that my aunt will be around a lot longer to enjoy her family, grand kids and even great-grand kids. I'm glad that a year from now she and my Mom will still be calling each other every Sunday to check in. All this doesn't mean that I don't wish I had the same results.
Lately, sometimes, it feels like I'm just postponing the inevitable. I guess that means I have something left here to do. Or maybe God's forgotten about me. I don't really think that's true but it does run through my mind now and then. That's the moment I try to think of all I've been given/blessed with in my life.
- Parents who loved me through everything. Who never gave up on me. Who taught me the difference between wisdom and knowledge. Who taught me what the love between a man and woman should look like.
- A wife who showed me unconditional love. Who didn't run away when things got rough. Who has more than lived up to her wedding vows, recognizing the importance of them. Who laughs and gets my jokes... most of the time. Who's laugh is as beautiful as her voice, both of which bless me repeatedly.
- Several churches throughout the years who have put teachers and friends in my life to help me grow and understand.
- Music. Songs that tell my stories or tell the stories of others that fits into my life, feelings or self-image.
- A dog who constantly reminds me that she's a miracle.
None of them are really in the same order at the same time. It's also the most abbreviated list in history. There are so many more blessings in my life. More than I know.
So, I'm mad at God right now. I have no right to be mad at Him. But He/She is strong and can take it. I won't be mad in the morning... most likely. I may not be mad by the time I get to bed in a few minutes. The writing is a process that tends to heal a bit as I vent.
"My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it."
— Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)
Maybe it's more about being frustrated with life and needing someone to be mad at. The truth is that I'm much better off than a lot of people right now. I think I need to re-read Ragamuffin Gospel soon. You should too: