I hope folks will forgive me for this as this post is only tangentially about Virginia and her cancer. It’s still dark outside as I begin this. Virginia is sleeping right now. Her breathing is heavy and a trifle labored. She is hugging tightly the most recent acquisition to her stuffed critter collection, a large green frog holding a heart that says “Kiss Me”. I’m awake answering e-mails, thinking, and praying
I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail and phone calls. The words of encouragement are, well, encouraging. Some of the e-mails have asked me blunt questions, one in particular asked “How could I still post those Demotivational Posters during this time?”
My answer to that is that I’ve got to do something to keep the smiles coming.
One e-mail from an online buddy struck a chord. I won’t re-post his e-mail because he revealed some personal information that I assume is for my eyes alone. As I read through my response to him, I realized that it very nicely summed up how I was currently coping with the whole situation. S.L. I wrote this to you but I hope you don’t mind my sharing it with everyone…
At 43 years of age I have seen careless death, needless death, folks who have spent years in pain wishing they could die, and more senseless tragedy than I really care to. I’ve lost both sets of grandparents. Virginia and I have had a miscarriage. I also lost a cousin when he was 10 due to drowning.
I have also seen pregnancy where the doctors said it couldn’t be done. I’ve personally witnessed miracles of healing that defy common wisdom (I wish cell phone cameras had been invented the day I witnessed of boy with a serious birth defect grow his face back in front of the entire church).
My faith has always carried me through the toughest parts of my life. I’ve been told by many people that my faith is a crutch. That may be true, but then everyone has a crutch of some sort. I just happen to replenish mine at church instead of the liquor store. Please be aware that in no way am I representing those as the only two options and am by no means placing you or anyone else in a category.
Yes, my faith tells me that someday after she passes from this life, I WILL see Virginia again. I will see my grandparents. I will see the child who never even had a chance. I will see my still-born sister. I do believe that the human soul is an eternal creature and will spend eternity in one of two places. However Virginia’s eternal soul will not help me feed the boys. She will not help in keeping the house clean. Once she’s gone, I’m faced with some things on this plane of existence that truly scare me. We are barely making ends meet with both of us working. PIT #3 is only 11 years old, he’s not taking the whole “Mommy is going to heaven” thing very well.
Even though my faith gives me comfort and hope it does nothing to change some of the very real problems I’ll be facing once Virginia has left her cancer ridden shell.
Why does God allow things like this to happen? Why is a young mother torn from the embrace of her husband and children? Why does $h!t happen, God? Believe me, even though I have my faith I still ask these questions. They’re not easy to answer and folks who have asked these questions are faced with two choices; one to abandon that faith or two to accept that there is more to this existence and that we as humans do not comprehend everything.
We have never met face-to-face but I do number you among my friends. If your conclusions about life, the universe, and everything are correct then my faith costs me nothing and provides me comfort in the time of a serious crisis. If my conclusions about what’s going on are correct then again I have lost nothing but have gained something in the long run.
When I wrote that I was scared about the future, I may have unintentionally given the wrong impression of my thoughts regarding what will happen after Virgina has passed from this life to the next. Yes, I am scared. However, it is not the scared-out-of-my-wits-unable-to-do-anything-but-piss-my-pants sort of fear. It’s the type of fear I had as a child, the “Daddy the thunderstorm is really scary is it going to get us? No Steve, we’re safe inside the house. C’mere, Daddy has a hug for you” fear. I’m still scared but my faith tells me something larger than I has things under control. I don’t see the whole picture. I don’t know the reasons for “WHY?”. But Daddy did and I believe that God does.
Science does not have all the answers. Science cannot explain that spark of life. Science cannot explain everything. Every scientific FACT out there has yet to disprove God. Scientific THEORIES abound that try to explain things that science cannot test for. The thing is that faith does NOT require proof. I believe that God exists. I believe that He is in control of a larger plan that I do not understand. This plan requires that my wife have cancer. The future is not set, she may recover, she may not. I do not know what the future has in store.
Pain is temporary, pain is something we have to endure here. When Virginia leaves us she will leave the pain behind. Someone will still have to feel it. We live in an imperfect universe. I will happily share my faith you if you ask. I hope am not now and will not ever be seen as shoving it in front of you.
To answer your implied question, What is Truth? Is it what the doctors tell us? Is it what Televangelists tell us? Is it what the Media spoons out to us in carefully measured sound-bites? No, Truth is something that each individual must find for themselves. There are guideposts for that journey.
That in a nutshell (ok a very large nutshell) sums up why I am both afraid and unconcerned about the future.
To this I add that I do not make friends easily. Once made, I do not give them up easily either. I have been disappointed many time by people who claimed to be my friends. When I say that someone is my friend please be aware that this is not a title I bestow lightly nor is it a title I take for granted.
I’m not going to apologize for sharing my faith in this post. If it offends you, it offends you. I do not claim that I have discovered THE TRUTH, only that I believe that I have. Truth is a personally journey for everyone. I cannot make your choices for you. I can only give you a glimpse of my journey and hope and pray that it helps you along yours.