This past Thursday evening, after finding out my left clavicle was fractured, because of the cancer, I found myself awake most of the evening. I don’t feel it was worry keeping me up so much as my brain running at full speed thinking of all the implications and ramifications. The one phrase that did keep coming back to the forefront of my thinking was, “I now find myself shrouded in pain.” The word shrouded caught my attention and I couldn’t help ruminating on the picture it painted and how I truly felt about the pain I was experiencing.
Because this break is caused by the metastasized cancer the chances of it being able to heal are negligible. The idea this pain will not be going away but instead needs to be managed changes my mental approach towards it. On the 1-10 scale of “Dealing With the Hand Dealt” the pendulum quickly swung from a difficult but manageable six to the dreaded Eleven. But why? Why does the idea of the pain ending, or not ending, change the way I view the pain?
Honestly it’s because with the one – I can still be in control. Knowing the injury will heal and the pain will eventually go away means I simply have to “man up” and deal with it. With an end-date it becomes more a mental exercise. However, I don’t find that approach as easy to rally around knowing the pain may not only never end but may get worse. That concept (at least for me) becomes like swimming across the Atlantic Ocean as opposed to swimming a dozen laps at the local pool. It’s just not doable, at least not without assistance. Knowing I’m a Christian you can see where these ruminations are leading me.
As a Christian I see this as being yet another lesson God has placed on my path. The intention seems obvious enough; too keep me humble and reliant on God, and God alone. Of course I then have to wonder (whine, cry out), “How many of these lessons are required before you’ll be satisfied?” As fast as that question enters my mind the answer follows with a profound “NEVER”! At least not this side of life.
Lately I’ve been an emotional wreck and I seem to be crying all the time. Not because of the pain or about my cancer. No this is the kind of weeping brought on by seeing someone do something altruistic, whether that be a TV show or a news article. It can be a particular hymn sung at church, especially if there is any reference about going to heaven or being in the Lord’s presence. Some days it feels like just about anything can bring me to tears. Heaven help me if I were to watch a Hallmark movie these days. The idea that my broken clavicle is yet another lesson from God brought on the water-works. Not out of frustration, anger or fear but out of gratitude. Gratitude? Can anyone not a Christian be able to understand that? Why on earth would I be thankful for God to inflict even more pain into my life? And I do believe this is God’s handy work. Obviously I must be “one of those” deranged Christians.
Stick with me here. Now, I believe I’m already saved. I believe I could meet my Lord right now and be allowed entrance into His kingdom. But God apparently has other intentions for me. I don’t see this as Him being cruel but just the opposite. I see my Creator saying He’s not done with His creation. Instead of looking at me and saying, “Good enough”, He wants to further refine me. The God of (more than we can ever imagine) wants something more for me and that idea brings me to great tears of joy.
So if you’ve been wondering how I’m doing these days – I may find myself “shrouded in pain”, but emotionally and spiritually I think I’m doing pretty good. And now you know if you see me crying it’s most likely not a “woe is me” self pity cry, instead it’s a “thank you Lord for allowing me another glimpse of your love for me” cry. If you find yourself crying for me may your tears be tears of joy.
Oh, as for the shoulder. I’m meeting with a radiation oncologist tomorrow to see about zapping the cancer. Never give up!