Some days feel God ordained and full of purpose. Sun shining. Peace and hope filling my heart.
But then some days feel more like today. Where I’m angry when I wake up because sleep is my one escape. It is the one time I truly forget about my current situation and how bad I feel. Heads up: this is not the prettiest part of my journey, yet I thought I’d be honest with each of you and let you see not only the good aspects but also the bad. After all, no one expects a journey through cancer to be all sunshine and rainbows.
I went to the lake with my parents and some of my best friends this weekend for some much needed fresh air. I had a few moments where I felt truly alive, like riding the jet ski, and almost forgot I was sick. I laughed a lot, sometimes even to the point of tears. I soaked in the joy of being in the presence of my favorite people and it was good.
On Sunday morning everyone was swimming near the dock and I was resting in a chair. My three friends were all trying to climb on a paddle board at the same time and kept flipping off. We were all laughing because just when they would get it balanced, someone would go crashing into the lake. I sat on the dock wrapped up in my towel and watched them. I was happy that they were all having so much fun and didn't resent being left alone. I enjoyed hearing them laugh and tease one another. But as they played, for the first time since I got sick, I felt angry with God. All I wanted to do was join them--to run, jump in the lake and splash around with all my best friends. Yet, I couldn't. My whole body ached and I could barely keep my eyes open -- I was not only separated from them by water, but by the very nature of my condition.
As the weekend progressed, amidst all of the joy, the injustice of my situation seemed to scream from the walls. I felt too weak to help cook or clean. I was too burnt to stay out on the jet ski for long. I was too immune compromised to swim. I was too tired to climb the stairs to the house without taking a few breaks.
I was haunted by the eerie reality that I am not who I used to be. The things that worry me are far from the things that worry others my age. The food I eat, the sleep I need, the activities I can participate in— the gap gets wider the farther I get into my treatment.
So I’ve spent the better portion of the last 72 hours thinking, “God, why me?!”
For some reason, this is the first time I have wrestled with that question since this journey started.
This weekend made me realize just how much I miss my friends. I miss working. I miss the community of college and having a packed schedule. And more than anything I miss having the strength and energy to keep up.
I know deep down God is at work. I know I am surrounded by people who love me and wish they could take this away.
But I still feel left behind. Everyone’s lives must go on, including mine. Yet, I find myself just wanting to go to sleep and wake up in a few months. I want to skip this suffering and start the healing.
Don’t we all?
I’m reminded of one of my favorite Lord of the Rings quotes. Frodo says, “I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf wisely replied, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
I truly wish I did not have cancer. I wish I could keep up with everyone else. I am trying to make the most of this and stay positive, but I also have to be honest with myself about where I'm at. I am having trouble seeing God at work. I feel really sad and overwhelmed by the road of recovery ahead. I don’t want to pray. I feel empty and angry. I don't understand why He let me get sick.
However, I know God is doing something in this. He is still good. And He is big enough to allow me to be sad and angry with him for a few days. He can handle all of my emotion and loves me consistently. That is the gospel. Not a promise of exemption from suffering, but a God who walks with you through it. Even on the days when you’re irritable and mean and pouting. Like today: He is with me as I cry and eat ice cream and wrestle with the "why me" question. He doesn't judge me for wanting to stay in bed all day. Instead, He whispers, "Rest, I am with you. And I promise I will redeem this."