On Monday, I had this thought, “I’m going to die of cancer.”
It wasn’t a premonition; it wasn’t a revelation. I didn’t get new information from the doctor that I’m just now sharing. In fact, it wasn’t even a new thought. If I had a nickle for every time I thought I might die of cancer, I’d be rich.
But I still might die of cancer. And some days, the reality of that possibility turns my blood cold. Thankfully, I called down the Spirit on those thoughts, fighting through the discouragement of them. But they have popped in and out of my head off and on the past few days.
I’m also so tired I could sleep for days, and my abdomen hurts a little all the time. I have not completely recovered from surgery, though I’m trying to live life as if I have. Part of it is denial. I wish I didn’t have to have surgery. Part of it is reality. I have two trips to make in a little more than a week, and if I don’t push myself, I’ll never even make it to the airport.
And here’s the worst thing, nothing sounds good to eat. I have food in the freezer that friends have graciously made. I could drive anywhere and buy any food I want. And it’s not like I don’t have an appetite. I’m just not hungry for anything.
Did I mention I also have a headache?
This is real life for me this week. It’s tempting not to write about the every day dirt that accumulates in my heart. Again, the denial. But what if you’re sitting there reading this, having a bad day, and you think, “Maybe I’m alone.” And I have it in my power to promise you, You are not. Alone.
Kelly did the same thing for me today. A link to her blog popped up on Facebook: “The Good, The Bad, and The Things I Don’t Share.” When I read it, I nearly wept. Because I was sitting here reading, having a bad day, and thinking, “Maybe I’m alone.” But most assuredly, I am not.
I acknowledge that the bad is there, and I live in it – but there is ever so much beauty to be found within it all. I’d rather live there – in the true, the lovely, the pure, the good, the happy, the light – than dwell on the awful.
Still in the end, the awful does mix in – it can’t be left out, not here – and it is what makes life exquisite to live. If you can find real good within real pain, you’ve learned art, you’ve learned what makes a routine, ordinary day worth living.
I’m not always sure what to do with hard days, though. Pulling art from them certainly does feel redemptive, and if I am ever to become a master writer, than I need to write from all the angles. So does reminding myself of what’s true, so that my whiny, grumpy side doesn’t win the battle in my head. That’s what Kelly does, too. She writes,
The only thing I have to hold onto most days is the fact that I am God’s. That Jesus became sin for me so I could become – in Him – the righteousness of God. So I could know Him right here where I am – in the good or in the bad.
But somehow, though it feels trite and though my heart bucks against it and though I would be hard pressed to preach this advice to others, today, what it seems Jesus wants most for me to do is be grateful.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I’m not talking Pollyanna, pie in the sky, everything’s fine kind of gratitude. That would be denial. I’m talking about the hard acceptance, the God-centered risk, the way through suffering. Or as Ann Voskamp calls it in One Thousand Gifts, the choice “to allow the holes to become the seeing-through-to-God places.”
I’m not grateful so this bad day will end. I’m grateful that all of these circumstance have given me a greater hunger and vision for Jesus to be next to me, though the bad day continues.
This is real life for me this week. It’s hard, and I am thankful.
Join me for regular jaunts around The High Calling network, randomly visiting fellow bloggers, soaking up their words and ideas, and then coming back here to write about them from my perspective.
Each Thursday, consider going “There and Back Again” yourself. It’s simple.
Photo by naydeeyah, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.