I have come to a space where there is quiet.  True quiet.  I have not had the luxury of quiet in my life.  It brings me to tears.  Out rushes all the disappointment, all the sadness, and though it’s a much less dominant feeling, all the tension and anger related to where life has taken me.  Where ‘terminal cancer’ has forced me to tread.  I share these things, not because I am not coping well and not because I don’t have hope and a faith secure; I share these things because sharing in these very human and very visceral emotions is what I am coming to see “becoming human” is all about.  I think on this term, “becoming human” regularly these days.  John Vanier penned a book I read as recommended by my high school English teacher, called “Becoming Human.”  His book discusses different ideas than I present here; but, I like his title and the notion it holds.  To me, becoming human is about sharing life in a very real, authentic, genuine and open fashion.  I feel like in the religious circles I’ve spent time in over the past few years, these are ideas talked about, but not so well lived out.  It is my goal to live out “becoming human”.  I want to share what this journey is fully about.  I’ve given you glimpses of the Hope I have.  I hope I’ve shouted out loud and clear the promises of Christ.  I spend much time in those places and always circle back to them.  However, there are other places and spaces and emotions which comprise the “bad and ugly” of my diagnosis.  My professional counsel has advised me to visit these places regularly, for if I don’t they will rear their heads at the most inopportune moments.  It is becoming apparent that my need to visit these places occurs approximately every 2 weeks.  From brief time in these spaces and places I can then move forward to keep living full of hope, joy, peace and love.

 I keep on traipsing on in my life.  I live by words of encouragement I find in scripture. I cry out to God passionately as I have never before.  I hold dear the “regular” moments with close friends as well as the “special” moments.  I make plans for this year, for trips, for more time with Ryan, for writing etc.  I even prepare to write legacy pieces for my kids, which by now doesn’t even always elicit in me a sobbing response.  And then I think about it: this year could be it.  That could be all.  And I cry because I want to see my kids grow up.  I want to be there to see what careers they choose.  I want to return to my career as I should be doing right now.  I want to help them fumble through preteen years.  I want to be there to teach them to make good choices so that I will be so pleased with the spouses they choose.  I want to make sure my son treats women with the utmost respect.  I want to help my girls plan their weddings. I want to travel and adventure with my husband and see how sweet our marriage can become as we chart through the struggles of raising a family.  I want to help my kids when they have kids.  I want to be there in the difficulty of helping our parents as they age and eventually lose a spouse.  I want to reap the rewards of how demanding parenting young kids is. I want to waterski, I want to play soccer, I want to think clearly and concisely and keep writing. 

Deep breath.  And I rest in God’s arms for awhile so I can keep on keeping on.  And I keep reading the Psalms and keep praying like David. Then I start listening to Toby Mac, “move” and Mandesa “overcomer” and I’m ready to face my days again, I’m ready to not let cancer define me, though it certainly shapes me.  I ready to not let God waste this experience. (My mom shared that this is her friend’s mantra).  I’m ready to keep loving and parenting our twins which keeps us close to craziness (but will surely have sweet rewards).  I’m ready to love on my almost 5 year old as I see the young woman in her already who needs to be nurtured so she can blossom as beautifully as I foresee.  I’m ready to look for opportunities where I may be able to give in a season where I am receiving vastly.  I’m ready to push myself further into my own “humanity” and stretch myself to further and more intimately explore what “becoming human” means in my life.  I’m ready to smile into my husband’s eyes thankful I have him as partner in this life and I’m ready to roll my eyes at the things he will always do that simply make me roll my eyes. 

God’s love lived out isn’t tidy.  No, life is very messy.  And I think it is only when we are willing to trudge through the mire in full view of others that we become truly free to embrace the “more and better life” (John 10:10) that God has for us.  It is hard to find others willing to do the same.  When you find them, treasure them.  Oh how blessed I am that my husband championed transparency long before I opened up.  And how blessed I am that I have parents who loved, and continue to love, me so well (this is a blog piece of itself) that I was prepared to navigate this world with wise choices and a mindset headed in the right direction.  How blessed I am to have special friends, both ‘newer’ and ‘older’.  I feel like I should close with a meaningful scripture, and yet, as I stare into the snow-laden landscape, I lean into the blessing of the presence of God and the promise that He is with me always*.

*so in actuality I am closing in scripture, this is the verse and a backstory about it:  Hebrew 13:5 “[God] will never leave you nor forsake you.”  My Mom’s mom had a loud voice.  In contrast to her husband, she was outspoken.  On my baptism day, that grandmother stood in the congregation and proclaimed this verse to me.  It is my hope that my words of encouragement would also continue into my grandchildren’s generation.