Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jog!


Being home Saturday with Allistaire, seeing her move from one room to another, doing the things she used to do…finally it started to sink in, finally I started to believe that God may have given me back my life.  Somehow it felt like, as the minutes of the days progressed, that I was stepping back in to where life had left off, as though the past 51 days since this began had all been a bad dream.  Of course Solveig, is not here and we have to use Press & Seal to cover up tubes that hang out of Allistaire’s chest and flush her lines every day and return to the hospital in several days for more chemo.  Life is quite clearly not what it was, but these are just details and their end is in sight.  It seems that, if the wonderful results are true, that God took us radically off course for a time.  To say that we have been off course though makes it seem like an accident, like some mistake, as though the right path was not taken.  To say that God willfully allowed Allistaire to have cancer is hard to swallow, it gets at the question of how a good God can do such a thing, or at the very least, be a bystander.  It is nearly midnight now, and as often seems to be the case, I find myself starring at this question and usually late at night when I feel incapable of delving into the depths of this mystery.  This is such a significant question, I think perhaps the ultimate question: is God really good like He claims to be?  How can I believe this in light of all that is so clearly wrong in the world?  How can one make sense of pain and suffering in the world?  Is it only a cop-out to say that it is a mystery?  That God’s ways are not our ways? While I do believe there is a fair amount to consider and say on this topic, nevertheless, much remains mystery.

What I can say is this, the life that God seems to be giving me is not the life I had, it is an altered life.  There are new qualities and dimensions to my life that were not previously present, or perhaps were in such a seed-like form that they were unrecognizable as newly growing life.  A seed is often unlovely and does not readily draw one to itself, but it is the substance from which life and beauty and fruit eventually come.  I cannot quantify the breadth and depth or give a numerical value to thankfulness, to deep seated rest and satisfaction, to expanded empathy and compassion, to peace, to hope.  I cannot measure out for you the extent of abundance that is rising up from these days.  All of these and more have merely begun to unfurl.  I do not know how far they may reach.  How can I set these next to the readily evident value of my beloved’s life and claim that they are somehow on par, or perhaps dare I say, of possible greater value?  I know, it is the one thing that even suggesting seems so wretchedly wrong.  How, if I really love my child, can I even utter these words?  How could anything be worth Allistaire’s life?  I believe that so much of this is about scale.  I do not believe that God is in any way devaluing Allistaire’s life.  I think that it is the very great and known value of Allistaire’s life that allows me to see, in greater clarity, the greatness of what God is offering.  What is it then that God is offering?  He is offering the truest means of the most abundant life which is relationship with Him, resting in His absolute goodness.  But this isn’t just goodness, like all prim and proper and staunch, this a goodness that is sweet, a goodness with the zing of ginger and tang of lime, a goodness that is giddy with delight for us.  Why must pain be a part or even a means of entering into this communion with God?  There is so much to this question, so much that so many have wrestled with throughout time.  I ask another question, is it possible that there is nothing of greater value than coming closer to the living God and having the veil pulled back a bit to see more of who He truly is?

In the few months before Solveig was born I found myself a little depressed.  I could tangibly point to the things that would be lost with the arrival of a child in our life.  So much freedom would be exchanged for constraint.  No more fun Friday nights going out to dinner and a late night movie.  No more day long road trips.  A lot less spending money for fun things.  No more of the sweetness of it being just Sten and I.  Once I had Solveig, I wondered how I could ever convince anyone without kids that taking in the sweet curve of her cheek, that watching her chubby hand hold a crayon, or the sound of a squeal of delight could possibly be worth what one gives up when you have kids.  It just seems sappy and cliche.  But if you’ve held your own child, you know in a flash in the deepest, truest part of yourself, that none of those things lost can compare with what you have gained.  It does not change the fact that they are lost or that they had value in your life.  This is an imperfect comparison, but it begins to describe what I sense God is doing in my life.  He is bit by bit, revealing more of Himself to me and it is a treasure that cannot be constrained by the finiteness of words or of dimensions know to us.  Yes, it can all seem like a cop-out; mystery is a handy explanation.  Yet, I have tasted of the Lord.  He has not given me back the life I had.  He has given me back an enlarged life, a more resplendent life, a life whose flashing colors have no name in our own tongue.  Would these words come from me if the results of the bone marrow test had been what I most feared.  I tremble to say yes, but I cannot know because at least for today, it is not what He has given me.  I thank God today that He has given me more, far more than He has taken.

*Also, I’m SO bummed – I have such a sweet video of Allistaire playing and dancing in her room that I am just having a heck of a time with – nothing I do will make it work on here.  So for now, sorry to deprive you of such wonderment but I’ll keep working to figure out the glitch.

6 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing your wrestlings. They are the very struggles I wrestle so much with. Sometimes life seems so full of hard, really hard things, and I’m left to wonder why, if God truly is good. I agree… That there is nothing greater than knowing Christ more. And yet when it rubs up so closely against all you hold dear, it doesn’t seem so simple. To say you can go through something like this and come out fuller… I think that’s a blessing from the Lord for seeking His heart in this. He has given you spiritual eyes to see the value in something that has been so difficult. Thanks for all your encouragement, as you have truly encouraged my life over th last weeks. Praying for continued health and I bet your video is adorable, so here’s to hoping the computer cooperates:). Have a great night:)

  2. And again, I’ll say thank you Jai… for a totally different reason though. I have recently totally had a bout of the (maybe not depression) but, can I safely say, fear of losing what we’ve had this past ten years. Exactly what you said about Solveig. I have wondered deep down in my heart, wanting to push it back because it feels so selfish…. but thinking “well… can’t go back now” in a strange kind of way…. of course always mixed with this ever excited feeling of having a little one. And if this emotion where some sort of mixed drink it’s umbrella would include an overwhelmingly terrified feeling of the unrelenting knowledge that this will be the hardest challenge and biggest commitment of our lives. I had my freak out moments before I married Leo, questioning if this was really what God wanted, but it was a commitment I felt was willing to step into…at least I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but parenthood (deep breath). I’ll pause here to say that perhaps I’ve grown up enough and seen so many students and BAD parents out there in the world that I truly know how big this is as opposed to my knowledge of marriage as a young teenager, and it is overpoweringly terrifying. So many what if’s, and what then’s. So much will be different and I have wondered… (again deep down) “will it be good?” I am so encouraged to read your thoughts which match up with my own and am reassured that surely I do not know yet the splendors that will lie before, even if they are difficult. This entire posting has ran through my head so much as I’ve read through your journey. How great is our God ALL the time, through the good and equally as much through the bad. It’s so easy to view our world through our selfish goggles and live in a world of unfair opinions and bitterness to our reality when we are called to take them off and live in the reality of His goodness as He draws us into that deeper relationship with Him. Thank your for making the comparison that has rolled around in my head these past few weeks. I really needed to hear it. I wish we lived closer Jai. We love you guys.

  3. Jai: Thanks for your beautiful words and insight. From my vantage point I can’t even see what was given up for a life lived with you and Pat. As God has promised, I have been bless a 100 times more than what I might have had as a selfish person. To experience the joy of holding and caring for Allistaire during this time is beyond description. For God to grant that Allistaire be cancer free at this time is beyond understanding and all I can say is, “Thanks be to God for this miracle of His grace and mercy.” A.W. Tozer said, “What we believe about God is the most important thing about us.” We are praising God for His love in showing Himself to you and to all of us. Love you,

  4. One more thought:). I’ve been thinking about this post the last few days and a few things came to mind… The first was Abraham and Isaac. Interesting to think about it through the lens of what you were talking about…. That God would ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and that Abraham, by faith, would follow through and come out knowing God and seeing Him provide the sacrificial lamb I his place. Wow. I can’t imagine, but Abraham trusted that God had a purpose in what was happening. That’s pretty amazing. I also read some verses that gave me pause…. Psalm 119:71, 92, 147… “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn Your decrees…. If Your law had to been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction…. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your Word.”. I think it’s so hard to see circumstances with this perspective, but how amazing to be able to have the humility of heart to learn even through life’s hardest moments.

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