Karyn tells me I’ve been anxious lately…she sees this difference in me since my brain surgery this past summer:
Not quite as carefree, not laughing as much as I used to…she’s right.
And I tell her that, up until June 24, I assumed a life which, God willing, would be (and might still be…) a long and happy one.
But, as much as I would like to think otherwise, it’s hard to let myself go down that happy road full of warm fuzzies like I used to. While I’ve had a great outcome these first five months since surgery(cancer-free with no seizures…) as my next MRI approaches at the end of December, I can feel my anxiety(and my questions) snowball down across the new, dark space in my right frontal lobe.
Has the tumor grown back?
Is it more aggressive this time?
Will I have to do chemotherapy and radiation?
And will it lead to another surgery?
Will I lose cognitive and/or physical ability again?
And then, fully embracing the weight of gravity and the rush of my icy fear, I fearfully wonder–
Will this be my last Christmas?
And, again, I reminder myself that only Christ holds my future. That He is my Great Shepherd. That heaven will be better than anything this temporal life of mine has to offer. That yes, even though I don’t like it, life will indeed go on without me. My wife and kids will mourn my absence–and again, my great God and Father will fill in the gaps with his kindness, care and protection.
And, again, I will be with them all “soon and very soon” for all eternity.
This rich, fiery truth melts and calms my greatest fears.
I hope you’re not tiring of reading these posts about my recovery. It’s really good for me. It’s like very public therapy. So forgive me if I’m beating a dead horse over and over again.
But it’s this kind of battle every ordinary day inside my head. I am forced–EVERY DAY– to remember my non-negotiables. What I believe to be unalterably true about my God and my ordinary, terminal human life.
There’s Christmas music playing here in the church office today as I type this.
And, again, just like this time every year, we Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus. We long for more and more people to take hold of the hope we find in Christ–to not be deceived by what the world so convincingly peddles for lasting hope…romantic love, meaningful family relationships, living vicariously through our children, happiness through wealth and possessions, fame, academic gravitas, protecting the earth’s environment…add your own items to this very long and ultimately wanting, barren and astringent list.
And, again, I’m inspired by the life-infused, eternal words of I John 5:11-12
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (NIV)
And, again, in the midst of my sometimes snowballing fear, I’ll stand and live forever on this eternal, life-giving, lung-filling, thirst-quenching, non-negotiable truth.
So, if this is my last Christmas, Karyn tells me to live my days to the full, to be care-free, as if my core convictions really do burn bright and hot at the center of my God-breathed soul.