Another day begins with cool cheeks and no fever! Every time it’s “arm pitsy” time, my heart thuds in anticipation of what the little black numbers will say. Allistaire and I sit there looking at each other while I hold her arm snug against her body. “Wait beep, beep?” she asks. “Yep, wait beep, beep,” I respond. So far, amazingly, Allistaire has remained fever free. On Tuesday we waited for two hours for her red blood to be delivered (somehow it had failed to have been ordered), then for three hours the blood flowed in. To top off the extravaganza, Allistaire got her nose swabbed, much to her great dissatisfaction. Today at her clinic appointment, we were told that the results showed that she has the rhino virus which is essentially the common cold. There is nothing to do really but watch her, keep taking her temperature and check things out like her ears. So far she has a bit of fluid in her ears and they are a little retracted but no full blown ear infection. Should this happen she would probably be given oral antibiotics and potentially one dose of IV antibiotics. Her examine went great and everything is looking wonderful. Of course there is the mysterious little purple spot on the top of her left earlobe that does not blanch. I hate things like this – these little weird things with no explanation that you have to wonder if they will fade away or become a significant indicator of something amiss. Even Allistaire wanting hugs and to be held is concerning. The last day or two she’s actually asked for a hug. Normally this would melt my heart and it still does but now it is combined with deep fear. The only other time Allistaire was a bit needy and wanted to be held was in the few weeks prior to being diagnosed. I tell myself, she’s on day 15 of this round of chemo, her counts are down, she’s a bit under the weather, this is the third time her body has been hit hard, of course she’s going to be tired and want more comforting than usual. But just alongside these thoughts is the memory that I was able to explain away so many things before she was diagnosed that had other plausible explanations but were in fact a result of her disease. I remind myself that she has lots of energy overall, is cheerful, active, and has great results so far. I also pray over and over , “Lord, help me to live open handed, resting and trusting in whatever the days ahead hold. Help me to hand over to you the heavy weight of the future – unknown to me and known to you.”
One thing I am learning is that while I can feel overwhelmed and unable to deal with the possible woes the future might hold, the truth is, when the time comes, God will meet me there, in the present moment, and He will provide for me abundantly. In the present I cannot see the provision for the future, for walking with the Lord is a daily experience. I suppose it is indeed the reality of manna, the food that is for but a day. The Israelites were only given enough food for one day. Security for food for future days rested not in amassing stores of food but in resting in the promises of the Lord: that He would be faithful and His love for them would not fail, His power to bring about provision for whatever they might need was ever sufficient. I am more and more convinced that the Lord provides for us in this daily, present way in order to facilitate our reliance on Him and thus our intimate knowing of Him. In the past years I have absolutely raged against this reality of my finiteness and my need of God. I have so desperately wanted to not need God because I was so very weary of being needy. Some other time I’ll tell more of this process, but suffice for now to say that eventually, as I became worn out from the struggle against God, I relented, I submitted and the Lord pulled back the curtain to show me that it is good to need the Lord because it draws me in close to Him and this is the source of sweetest, brightest life. He does not give me life, He is life itself and as I am more and more bound to Him, I am more and more fully alive in Him. Such words these are, such dismissable words, but they are the closest I can get to conveying the sweetness in my mouth of coming to know Him more. It is shocking and humbling to see how fast I leave the Lord behind when life seems to be going well. So quickly do I forget that all the goodness is directly tied into Him, that He is the source.
I just started reading the Caring Bridge site of a man whose wife had a massive stroke last May. A few days ago he included a passage from Philippians 3:12 – 14, which says this: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have yet taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” This part, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me,” repeats over and over in my mind. My life is not vertical, it is at a forward angle as though walking with your head against the wind. I find myself admonished by the Spirit over and over to, “press on.” I’m reaching out my hands and seeking to more and more take in the mystery of who God is and to become more acquainted with Him. I press onto take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. He took hold of me; He extended His mighty arm down into the pit to lift me up that I might know Him. This is the prize, this is the staggering beauty of the mystery, that I might know the living God! What absurdity! What outrageousness that I, Jai Anderson, might actually come to know something of the God of the Universe, the Ancient of Days! But somehow, it is wondrously true! The routine and mundaneness of life can often lull me away from such invigorations. I do not want hardship to be the necessary means to draw me to Himself, but I thank Him for His goodness that is manifested in both the things that I have prayed and asked for and that I delight in and for things that I would never want.
Okay, a few details: Allistaire’s ANC was ZERO today! Yeah! She goes back on Sunday to get a CBC (complete blood count) to check her platelet level, get an infusion of some drug that is supposed to prevent something that I totally forget and platelets if necessary. Then it’s back to get labs drawn on Monday and clinic. We are planning on bringing Solveig home tomorrow as she has been fever free since Monday evening and we’re hoping that what she has is simply what Allistaire already has. We plan on doing lots of hand washing, less nose picking and no kissing – perhaps we could go with no nose picking, but well, they’re little people so probably not. Oh, and we also plan to eat apple & chocolate chip pancakes with bacon on Saturday morning – our favorite weekend family tradition.
Lastly, but so very much not least, is the fantastic news that we may have found a solution to our homes weirdo electrical issues. Only a few of you know about this but we’ve had a year of dimming and wavering lights with no known cause. Our buddies at Puget Sound Energy showed up last night around 8:30pm, did some sleuthing and have determined that the neutral wire to our house has nearly burnt out and is the source of the issue. The man said that it was a good thing that we found this as it can often be a source of house fires. They have installed a temporary fix and the final solution should be complete within 10 days. I cannot tell you what a relief this is! So for those of you who have prayed specifically about this issue – thank you! And for those who have prayed broadly that God provide for us – thank you! Wow, how lovely it is when there is a clear, quick and free solution to a problem!