Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cease Striving and Know...

Whenever I am inclined to "grumble" I am reminded that no matter what difficulty is in my situation, I am not alone in "difficulty".

This year we have dealt with cancer. I was stunned (to put it mildly) last January when coming out of gall bladder surgery, my surgeon informed me that I had ovarian cancer. And not in its earliest stages, either. I was diagnosed stage III-C which means the cancer had moved beyond the ovaries throughout the abdominal cavity. I take some solace in that it had not yet metastasized or moved into other organs. At least, so far as we know, so far as can be detected.

And so, since January we have dealt with gall bladder surgery and then debulking surgery (during which I'm certain Doc took all of my innards out, threw some of them away, tied the rest in triple knots and returned them to my body). These two surgeries were quickly followed by a more minor procedure where they imbedded a power port below my shoulder. Then came six sessions of chemotherapy, hair loss, aches, pains, constant low blood counts and constant wonderings. Not to mention umteen neupogen shots which themselves brought on aching bones.

I mention all of that not as a means of gaining sympathy (although if you want to sympathize, you surely may), but more as a background for what I am about to say.

There is not a human being on earth who has managed to walk through life's journey without encountering struggle and pain and worry and sorrow. And yet, tonight, as we sat out on the deck, enjoying the cool breeze, eating our supper (it's a sure sign I grew up in Iowa that I call it supper and not dinner), I was thinking about this past year and how difficult it was at times. Not just for myself. It was difficult for my husband and family as well. They gathered round me during surgery and called and visited often. My husband took on a heavy load, worrying about me, getting me to and from treatment, hovering over me, watching and listening and trying to make things easy for me. Uncertainty reigns in our thoughts. There are a lot of "ifs" and "what-if's" in all of this.

And yet, as I sat there tonight, I was reminded that when all is said and done, life has been and is still good. I simply cannot complain. I told my husband, "What if we were living in war-torn Europe during the early 1940s? What if we were living in some droughty famine-stricken country right now and had no food for ourselves or for our children? What if we had our children torn from our arms or we watched them die before our eyes?"

Life is uncertain. Some are blessed with jobs, family, home, peace. Some are not so blessed. Many of us currently living are blessed with living in a time when homes are warm, food is available, medical care is available and travel is easy.

Some, even today, are not blessed with those things. Some of you reading this may have perils and pains in your life that are dragging you down. And surely everyone two centuries ago lacked most of the above.

I wonder sometimes why I am here and now and not then and there. It is none of my doing. God has placed me in this time and this place. I may deal with the hardships that life unfailingly brings regardless of when and where I live. But I am also blessed with the goodness of this time and this place and this family and these people and this life.

Life gets hectic. It gets busy. It gets frustrating and stressful and sometimes seems upside down. Even in our "good" times we forget to be thankful. We shouldn't forget.

These last several months there have been times at night, when I lie abed, my eyes ready to go to sleep, that I "stop" and let my senses take in the quiet and peace of just lying in a clean bed in a warm home under a solid roof, breathing, praying, thinking, just "being". It is good to savor life and to be grateful to God for all things.

Today's verse?

Psalm 46:10 "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."


Cat Rocketship said...

Thanks for this. I needed it this week. :) Glad you had a nice supper.

Sandy said...

Very nice and accurate post. In other words, we all need to stop and smell the roses. By the way, I grew up in Indiana and it is Breakfast, Dinner & Supper in that order!! Gotta love those midwestern roots.

Laurie M. said...

A wonderful reminder to be thankful! Your joy in hardship is a blessing and encouragement to me.

Dorothy said...

Sometimes we do need to stop and be thankful. Thanks for the reminder, Whitestone. It reminded me of the position I was in four years ago...recovering in the hospital from a life-threatening small bowel obstruction...while others were dying for lack of medical care in the circumstances of Hurricane Katrina.

Debby said...

Like Cat Rocketship, I needed this. I so needed this. It is interesting to me that always, no matter what state I have worked myself into (it doesn't happen often, but when it does, it is not pretty), I always come back to the same point. God is in it. God is choosing. God is good. And I take a deep breath and go on. It is nice to have friends who can grab your shoulders, turn you around, and point you in the right direction. (Even figuratively speaking.) Thank you for this. I am blessed. I am well and truly blessed.

Debbie said...

Thank you! That was excellent and just what I needed this morning.

jim said...

Apparently my eyes needed to be cleaned out this morning. Thanks for making every day special! I have had so much joy in being your husband!

Daria said...

Very good post ... thanks for that.

Roxanne said...

God has placed you where you are to bring glory to His name and you certainly do that for many people, myself included. Thank you for your faith and your sharing. Blessings to you!

Jana said...

you are a wonderful writer which makes your message even more profound, I am so glad that the journey hasn't hardened you, such a beautiful perspective. Thanks, it is very encouraging. I'm so sorry you had to go through so much pain.

supplies overflowing! said...

I haven't been here in a while, and I don't remember how I originally found you, but know that I am thinking of you and sending you healing wishes.