Last Tuesday, a girl I went to high school with died in a car accident. I think the last time I saw her was probably ten years ago at an Applebee's. That is to say, I didn't know her well then, and I didn't know her at all as an adult. But to hear that someone your age is alive and well one minute and dead on the scene the next brings to mind the old adage that life is fragile.
And although my life will not be impacted by this woman's untimely death, this saying has meaning to me at this moment in time. You see, on the day that my sister's second daughter came home from the hospital, my mom went to the OB/GYN to have some painful symptoms checked out. They found endometrial cancer. I connect those two situations because I don't see there timing as coincidence.
My friend asked me not long after my nieces were born on June 16th how I felt about them finally being here. I told her I was relieved that this stage in the life of our family was ending. For years, our family had prayed and hoped that my sister would be able to have more children. We all grieved when her sons were born much to early and died the day they were born. We've been holding our breath that all would go well during this last pregnancy, and on the day Tessa came home from the hospital just a week after her sister Eowyn, it seemed that we could all exhale. Kyle, my brother, would soon be bringing home their son from Ethiopia, and then we could just spend time enjoying each other. We were going to have a reprieve from difficult, emotional situations. And then my parents sat us down to tell us my mom had cancer and all of a sudden that reprieve was stolen from our family.
My week had prepared me a bit (in a weird way) for this news. On Tuesday, we had a plumber come to fix a pipe that was leaking water. The water was dripping from our piano room ceiling onto our hard wood floors. It seemed to be a quick fix, and I breathed a sigh of relief when he told me the dollar damage. But then on Thursday, D'arcy went to take a shower and two more leaks sprang up. An old house is sort of like having a two year old, just when you've picked up there seems to be a new mess. I have a two year old. And a four year old, a six year old, oh, and a ten month old. I'm familiar with this cycle. And sometimes life is like that too.
I felt all sorts of emotions on the day my mom told us she had been diagnosed with that horrible, fear inspiring word. Mostly, I just couldn't imagine my life without her. I couldn't imagine my children's lives without her. What a hole there would be in our family. I felt sadness for my mom that she had to walk this difficult road both physically and emotionally. I was also just angry that we were being jerked back into a struggle for life.
As I've brought my emotions to God, he has encouraged me with these thoughts. First, that although we might not have a reprieve in life's circumstances, we can find our rest in the Him. His Holy Spirit will well up inside of us if we invite it to bring peace and joy. And secondly, that although life seems fragile, it is actually quite fierce. Life has been bought for us at a high price. It is a gift for both now and later. It will not be held back or snuffed out easily. And we must fight for and with it.
So here we go, again. Our family is fighting for life, this time for the life of my mother. But, it seems clear to me now, that even when our hopes are confirmed that she is in remission, there will always be life to fight for. And so, we are just going to continue to get used to finding our reprieve in Him instead of our circumstances.