Saturday afternoon Robin and I returned from a weeks vacation in the Outer Banks, NC. We hadn’t been home for 15 minutes before a dark cloud of funk had settled over me. Robin questioned what she’d done to set me off and my truthful answer was nothing. Anyone in the house at the time would have equally been the recipient of senor grouchi. After 17 years of putting up with my “out of the blue” dark moods Robin will no longer stand for my normal response of “nothing”. Truthfully I didn’t know why I was acting like such a complete jerk, but there was a weight to being back home that I had not felt when we were on vacation. My response to Robin was, “It’s being back here and everything that goes with it.” There was more to what I said but that was the basic gist. However I wasn’t satisfied with any of my answers.
What was it that was really bothering me? Yes, something about being back home was acting as a catalyst for my mood but it didn’t fully explain it. As I sat thinking I started to recognize an undercurrent of fear running through all my thoughts. Fear of not feeling able to plan for tomorrow and tomorrows tomorrow. All my life I have envisioned where I saw myself being months and years down the road. Whether I actually achieved them didn’t matter as much as being able to dream about them and plan for them. But they were my tomorrows when thoughts of death were still farther down the road than warranted contemplation. Of course with cancer and the statistical promise of deaths soon arrival my far range planning came to an abrupt end.
But God in His infinite mercy and planning has deigned for me to outlive ‘the’ statistics. It is this new lease on life that has me both ecstatic and at the same time disquiets my sleep, because I want to fall back into my old ways. I want to plan for my future. I want to cast far flung dreams even if they are but ‘what-if’s’. But I find I pull my casting short for fear that I’m reaching out past my time. I now fear what before I was steadfastly resolved to boldly meet head on. Death lies around a future corner but I no longer have an idea of where that is and that scares me. The prospect of the cancer returning scares me and I am in many ways paralyzed by that fear.
Now I could stop typing out the inner turmoil I’ve been unknowingly brooding over and change over to spelling out the reformed position on my state of being, Heck, I found myself doing just that even as I typed the last paragraph. I even find that a lot of what I’m telling myself are the same things we (motorcyclists) would tell each other when someone would point out the danger of riding: “You never know when your time is up”, “Live for today you don’t know what tomorrow will bring”, “Only God knows the number of our days”, or my personal favorite, “No one get’s out alive!”. Of course after my motorcycle accident in 2011 I thought of all this in a new light by thinking, “I can up my statistical longevity by not getting on another donorcycle.”
Yeah, but where do I find myself right now this morning? The American Cancer Society has an article called The Fear of Cancer Recurrence and while it’s a fine article there is nothing said that I don’t already know. The knowing isn’t the problem, the problem I’m having is a problem of the heart. It’s a lack of faith. The faith that I felt was giving me such boldness in the face of death is the thing I find myself most lacking as I face life. Where I so easily put my ‘death’ in God’s hands I find that I want to be in control now that I’m ‘living’ again.
It’s been a few hours since I wrote that last line. Coming back to it now I realize all the things I would say to anyone who shared with me these anxieties and yet I find my own counsel to be weak and lacking teeth. Obviously we don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I still long to plan as if I do. I struggle more now with understanding God’s will than I did last year and yet it’s the thing that I desire most to know. How ironic that I’m supposed to assist teaching a class entitled “The Mystery of God’s Will”. For those of you planning on attending the class I will once more be using my life as a “cautionary tale”.
Yes I leave this blog post as unsettled as my current thoughts.