This past week has brought about an unexpected change that has affected Linda and I, simultaneously … but from two different perspectives. We have discovered (once again) together that change, at the very least, is unsettling.
Just like the title picture (on this coaster that Linda made) it is hard for us mere mortals to see the truth in change. We all get to some mystical chronological age in the way we think and see ourselves in the world. Because this personal worldview is pretty well established at a certain age…it is always a shock when we look in the mirror…and our appearance doesn’t match our inner “me” age.
In the Christmas book (A Christmas Pearl) that I shared with you over the holidays the deceased maid of the household, Pearl, returns to help out the family in crisis. Even though chronologically (earth time) Pearl is way over a hundred years old….she tells the matriarch of the home that in the next world you get to pick your age….and she picked 48.
That started me thinking…if I got to pick the age I wanted to be eternally…what number would I pick….probably late thirties or early forties…an age where we have lived long enough to learn enough life experiences…without gravity’s victory established over our body yet.
And the “inner me” (mirror-less) still thinks this is what my physical appearance should mirror…because it is what I still feel. It is always a shock in the morning to gaze in the mirror and see a sexagenerian staring back at me. How did this happen?
(My response should be….”By the Grace of God“… considering the health challenges overcome to arrive at this age.)
Earlier in the week I got an email from my “bestest” oncology nurse and friend…Linda. She wanted to lessen a shock she was sure I would feel towards a change coming soon to their office.
Even after reading those few lines…I could already hear my heart pounding….letters were starting to go out to inform patients about the change and she didn’t want me to hear it second-hand. By now my mouth was completely dry and I was finding it hard to swallow.
Please Lord…I silently prayed…please don’t let it be my oncologist is retiring. He wasn’t….( thank you God) but he was making a change to another building that could provide more service options related to cancer treatments.
Linda said she had been assured that she was, also, part of the change but it was too early on to know any definite specifics. Obviously the “limbo” period is hard on everyone involved.
Our emails started looking more like a ping pong match…bouncing back and forth. I wanted assurance that I would still be seeing my “one and only” oncologist (as well as my closest medical supporter/friend for seven years-Linda) and not different doctors/staff on any scheduled office visit.
Once I realized that everything would be pretty much the same…an office with patient rooms and the same doctor…my heart slowed down and I resumed swallowing again.
The trust factor between any doctor/patient relationship is critical, of course, but when you are dealing with cancer…”little c”…there are no permanent guarantees over the victor in the final conflict. All the doctor and patient can do is concentrate on the small victories for each battle… while searching for new “weapons” continuously to use in potential future attacks.
(Pictures from 2012 – chemo) Linda and Mandy and myself. )
Both Linda and I are participating in the women’s Bible Study on the prophet Jeremiah. Because I am retired I can take the noon class on Tuesdays while Linda takes another evening class on the weekend.
This past Tuesday morning (before my class) she emailed me and said a God’s Wink had just popped up on the day’s devotional in Jesus Calling and the message connected directly to some lessons from Jeremiah…and even more directly to our situation.
Jeremiah lived in a time when many citizens of Judea had forgotten God and had begun worshiping different idols. The study question asked us what “idols” in our every day lives were deterrents for us… to achieving a closer relationship with God?
In Jesus Calling…I saw my “idol” quite clearly…and for both Linda and I …it was a wake-up call to what we were experiencing with the professional/medical change affecting us both.
Here is an excerpt from Feb. 17’s Jesus Calling devotional:
“…Remember you worship a living Deity, not some idolatrous, man-made image. Do not fear change, for I am making you a new creation, with old things passing away and new things continually on the horizon. I want you to embrace all that I am doing in your life…finding your security in me alone.”
“It is easy to make an idol of routine, finding security within the boundaries you build around your life. Don’t try to force-fit today into yesterday’s mold. Instead, ask Me to open your eyes, so you can find all I have prepared for you in this precious day of Life.”
Oh no….not the “idol” of routine. I love my daily routine… lunches with friends, gardening, walking…haven’t I worked a long time to be able to spend my days enjoying the simple things in life?
Yet… I do see how it is easy to build fortresses around our daily routines….moats to keep a sense of security within…only to discover that we can only control so much…outside factors, beyond our control, are always at work. It is just a matter of time before something in our lives are changed… outside our domain…workplace or home.
It is then that God shows us that we, too, must change within and keep growing with the changes that enter our lives. Growth is never easy…but eventually the newness of change fades, alongside the earlier fear. Now change is the new normal.
So until tomorrow Father…let us depend on You to steer us through the new unknown until it becomes the old familiar. Always remembering Kermit’s famous line: “When you’re green you grow…when you’re ripe…you rot.”
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh