Friday, July 4, 2008

Connecting the Dots

Last week I received a voice mail from my mom in an unusually peppy tone saying I needed to call her back ASAP because she had something important to tell me. Realizing that her excitement was an obvious front for bad news I called her back not knowing what to expect, but hoping it was one of those things that my mom would overreact to but normal people would be less offended by. Sadly, her call was to tell me that her doctor had found an abnormal spot on her liver and would be doing a biopsy. Not really knowing how to respond to the information, I rushed through the phone call eager to end it so I could process what I had just heard.

Cancer? My mom might have cancer? In reality, rather than really processing this I quickly put the thought out of my mind. There seemed to be no point in worrying. The doctor hadn't even performed the biopsy yet and she didn't have any of the symptoms associated with liver cancer. The biopsy was scheduled for the following day and I awoke that morning with a pit in my stomach. It may have been unlikely that they would giver her results the same day as having the biopsy, but I had an unshakable feeling that this might be the worst day of my life thus far. After some quick google searches about liver cancer I knew that if this is what my mom had there was not a ton of hope. I cried and realized this was affecting me more than I thought it was. All day I waited for news, telling only a couple people about the situation because I didn't want to raise too much alarm without knowing anything. Finally I called my mom only to find out the biopsy was rescheduled for Monday.

I managed to keep myself busy enough throughout the weekend that I didn't really have time to think about it. Still, lying in my bed at night trying to fall asleep my mind would immediately jump to the worst possible scenario. What would my family do without her? Why did I have to be so far away right now? What would the next 6 months look like for our family? I was filled with worry. I tried to remind myself that God's will is perfect, that no matter what the outcome he would guide and protect my family. He cares for the sparrow and clothes the lily, he would be there for us. Still, I know that Satan was doing everything to continue planting seeds of doubt. In many ways I gave into this, I dwelled on the worst and ultimately doubted God's sovereignty. Not that sin is justified by good reasons, by how could I feel anything else?

On Monday, the day of the rescheduled biopsy, I took a break from some of the aspects of my normal routine to pray. All day I was stuck in this very dark place, despite my desire to really make a genuine appeal to God. After receiving a voice mail from my dad saying the biopsy went fine, my mom was in the recovery room, and that they would call on their way home I felt stuck. It was done, the news would come eventually, but I only wanted to hear it if it was good. I prayed for comfort and for strength, feeling selfish that my own struggles consumed my thoughts rather than those of my mom, dad, and siblings. Still, God answers prayer and I was immediately comforted by a call from my dad's sister. While I could hear the worry in her voice as she held back tears, her words and prayers were a comfort. It was a blessing to know that I was not alone in my worries, my feelings of distance, and my prayers. This conversation was followed by a phone call from my parents who sounded genuinely hopeful as opposed to their tones of labored hopefulness I had heard earlier in the week. 2-5 days for news, but oddly I felt at peace. No more worrying. I also felt genuinely hopeful and at the same time accepting of what God was doing.

Last night I received one more phone call in this ordeal. My mom heard back, and there is no malignancy in whatever it is that is on her liver. The doctors aren't even going to do anything since it doesn't seem to be causing her any problems. Amidst feelings of joy and relief I was struck by this thought of "Why God? Why all the worrying? Why all the stress if there was nothing there?" In my attempt to connect all the dots I am convicted by two things, which are ultimately the reason for why I'm writing out this story (kudos to you if you've stuck with the long posting :) ).

First of all, I worry far too much. While this is something that I already knew about myself, this situation showed me how much of this is due to isolation. I hold my worries in, afraid to burden others with my fear and allowing them to fester and grow. I don't want people to see my weakness or feel uncomfortable as a result of my vulnerability. I worry that telling people is fruitless because of their inability to relate to the situation at hand. Being told to carry each others burdens is a heavy commandment not just to those called to carry, but to those called to unload.

Secondly, God answered a prayer in this. One of the things I have been reflecting on this summer is why I'm in law school and if I am glorifying God by being here or just holding onto childhood dreams for the sake of my own glory. Ultimately, could I walk away if God called me elsewhere? In all of my worrying one thing was very clear to me, if my mom's life was threatened by whatever was going on, I would go home. While the logistics of this freaked me out, I definitely had a peace about walking away and waiting on God's timing for coming back. I suppose this is easy to say in hindsight, and the fact that I don't have to make good on my promise right now makes it easier to swallow, but in some ways it's another confirmation. I can walk away if I need to, but for now, God has me here.