Thomas moves from strength to strength each day. I see the life ebbing back into him and even though he has seemed more and more like the boy I knew, it surprises me how each day he returns more to himself. It makes me realize how very sick he was. I keep thinking about our ability to assimilate current experiences into our being, our ability to adapt and keep living. Seeing children with no hair, throwing-up, getting blood transfusions, receiving toxic drugs all became normal for us as Thomas went through treatment. The abnormal became normal. Now the suffering embodied in each child’s journey really hits me. I feel deep sadness for their suffering. Sometimes it is in the return to health that the reality of all that was lost becomes more apparent.
Today, Thomas served as an acolyte at church. As I was playing the piano and singing, I saw him walking down the aisle, carrying the cross. My voice caught and I had to focus, focus to keep from crying. Mark said the same thing to me after church; it was so good to see him serving. Our hearts were full of thankfulness for this moment of watching him serve in the sanctuary. Beautiful!
Tomorrow, Thomas’ port will be removed; the final step in his treatment. The port has served as the access point for all of his chemotherapy, transfusions and blood draws. It sits on his left shoulder and runs into an artery going into his heart. Tomorrow it will be removed. Now he can really wrestle! Esther, our little friend, is having her surgery to remove her primary tumor at about the same time. Her surgery is much longer than Thomas’ but her mom and I are happy to have a friend to sit and pray with while our kids are in surgery. Another kindness of God to work that out. With all of the scheduling and appointments at Children’s Hospital it is quite amazing Thomas and Esther lined up this way. We are praying for a smooth and uncomplicated surgery and for continued healing and health as Thomas recovers from the last nine months.
Our return to a more normal rhythm continues. I am thankful for each day where our greatest crises are not finding school books or realizing we have no eggs for breakfast. I far prefer these crises to vomit and prescription crises. My heart beats a little more quietly each day and each day I remember more how to live out of crises-mode. A couple of weeks ago, Mark and I heard a beautiful talk on the Jesus Prayer. The speaker reminded us that God is found in the present, not in the imaginings of the future nor in remembering the past, not even in thinking thoughts about God. God is found in reality and our ability to hear Him speak must be grounded in knowing Him now. In times of deep suffering it is almost easier to do that; no other time exists. There is nothing one can do to remove the suffering or escape it. It is in the return to normal that living in the future or the past is a bigger temptation. I continue to seek the grace to live right now, to know God in the midst of my days no longer filled with the stress of cancer, to cultivate the space in my heart to hear His voice. His grace is sufficient, even for the mundanity of everyday life.