Saturday, October 6, 2012
It's sitting on a shelf, mocking the fact I'm getting older and my body is breaking down. The Doctor isn't all that concerned. Blood work is absolutely, perfectly fine. Still, there is a niggling question and because of that, the prep for a procedure, 11 days away, sits in the spotlight, reminding me.
It's not that fear is in the results. It's the dread in the procedure. The mortification of the process, the inconvenience of taking the time. The procedure is often worse than the end result.
Forgiven for years of abusing laxatives in the pursuit of a number, consequences remain, this time with unusual bleeding and ever increasing pain over the past six years. Diet adjustments geared towards a response of gluten intolerance and IBS flaring foods have helped but still, the Doctor strongly urged this humiliation. "Let's just be sure. Find a best case scenario and know that your diet changes truly are all you need to do."
Even as it looms and I feel sorry for myself for having to go through the humiliation, a friend is diagnosed with cancer for the second time in two years. She already beat colon cancer. Her victory is what pushed me to pursue my questions and speak the fear of the events. She has faced surgeries, an ileostomy, colostomy, radiation, more surgery, bleeding-out that threatened her life. . . surely I could state my own embarrassing situation to the Doctor and submit to the cleansing ritual and loss of control as twilight takes over and the internal is explored.
This in mind first thing this morning, still looming large with embarrassed dread, and then, the news came. Her cancer is back. After just getting the all clear a beautiful, few, too-short months ago.
Suddenly the box in the bathroom and all it represents is minor.
One evening, one day, a slim chance the results will be life-changing. A small price for peace of mind.
But her evening, her day--hers showed a world turned upside down for a second time and with it, even greater questions that must have come. Why again? Why so quickly? We thought that chapter was done and we could get on with our lives.
Sitting here, watching the leaves fall in the sunshine, my 37 year old mind grasps just how fragile we are. Our bodies are frail and as dust.
Some inconvenience us. Others threaten us.
If inconvenience is the worst we experience then so be it. Inconveniences pass. Threats often do not.
"We are all dying," I heard the other day.
Startling. But true.
We are all one day closer to our death.
Do I get that?
I do when there is even a 2% chance something is wrong with my shell.
I do when news reaches me that a friend is in the fight of her life--again.
Not only do I get that but do I live that?
Do I dance in the sunshine even as my hair greys and joints ache with more consistency and my body betrays my peace of mind? Am I in dead fall of giving up and losing hope that it's all downhill or do I let the wind catch life's leaves as they turn to color and drop from the tree, letting the sun sparkle through them as they ballet on the way down?
These bodies, they aren't for keeps but they are what we have and with them, we live in preparation for forever. For what we do here ripples in eternity. We build our future story with our heart process here. Am I building beauty that will last the testing fire or am I building that which does not matter and will turn to ashes when submitted to the flame?
This is not all there is. Sometimes, that's a bit scary. Not knowing, always lends some fear. "How bad will it be? How long will it take? When will it end? How will it affect those I love?"
As a mom, that last is that which haunts the worst. "How will my children fare if worse case happens? When the fragility of life ends here, to begin there?"
There is no personal fear for me as I face fragility and what it ultimately means and I'm sure there is no fear for my friend. I know her heart. I know her faith. But I'm certain her Mama heart weeps for her beloved children who have to walk with her again and not know if it's going to be ok.
That's when fragility is the most painful--when it touches those we want to do everything to protect and give a life of secure happiness to.
The gift is to teach our children that we are fragile. Fragile here but not in eternity. This sobering realization is our cue to begin teaching them to look to the future that is so much more than this life. To teach where treasure truly lies. To help them see a glimpse of who we are here, is our preparation for who we are to be in heaven.
The knowledge of fragility can be frightening.
The knowledge of fragility can be liberating.
There won't always be humiliating procedures and terrifying diagnosis. These are brief moments in the light of forever. When viewed on the timeline of the cross and eternal wonder, this is not our defining but our process.
We look forward to the new when the old begins to break down. With each betrayal, our longing for perfection increases and our hearts set a little more towards forever rather than cling to the now. The mockery becomes the reminder that this all gets replaced some day. Our fragility is our beauty, for it is what awakens the longing for what is to come.
It can frighten or it can stir hope. The hope that we are not dependent on human strength but upon the Creator of this body. That He is our source and He is our end.
It can become our gift because it reminds us that we are not created for this world. This is not our destiny. Our destiny is far greater. We are created for eternity with a God Who is Love Himself and Who creates for us a life and home beyond our comprehension. A place where fragility has no place but instead only perfection that never wanes or wavers.
This fragility is only momentary. The mortal becomes immortality, fragility turns into forever.