Thursday, November 8, 2012

When Words Are Not Enough

I wish I could tell you how many times in the last few months I've picked up my cell phone to send a text message to my friend Andrea.

Andrea was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer earlier this year, and amazingly so, our friendship has grown to new depths because of some odd conversations that we've had along the way. Conversations about our spouses, mutual friends, and several oddities that we have discovered we share. Apparently there are other people in the world who won't drink milk after it has been contaminated by cereal.

A couple of months ago, Andrea faced a ruptured colon, several days in ICU, several more surgeries, and more complications. She's had to make choices regarding her quality of life that I can't even begin to fathom, and what's worse, she has to live with those choices. Which is usually harder than making the stupid decision. Especially if your me, and over analyze, over think, and worry about the how's and the what if's and the unfairness of it all.

Yet, in the last few months, thanks to her illness and lack of desire to deal with people, and my subsequent health issues, college kicking my butt, and my own crazies (that have absolutely nothing to do with her situation, just me being paranoid that I've said or done something wrong), have caused our friendship to be less...involved.

Which I don't like. But at the same time, I understand. She faces choices and fights on a daily basis that I hope I don't ever have to face. She's got 2 babies that she's trying to raise, well 3 if you count her husband. She's got other people showing up at her door, showering her with love and strength to help her find the will to keep fighting and to keep moving forward on the days that she just doesn't want to get out of bed. She needs that. Her family needs that.

I miss those text messages with Andrea, and I find myself picking up the phone, and staring at a blinking cursor, because me, the girl who always has something to say, even it's wrong, can't find the words. I can't seem to tell her that I've missed our double dates. I've missed being able to text her when I've had a particularly sucky day, or a funny moment that I just wanted to share with someone who's first language is also sarcasm. I've missed her. I've missed her sweet kids, and thanks to my husband being on a hunting lease with her husband, I don't really miss him, near as much, anyway.

Yet, I find myself terrified of saying the wrong thing. Even though, I'm quite sure, that we've been on the same brain wave a lot lately. Be sick and in constant pain for 2 months, you'd be amazed at the things you think about.

As school keeps going and the pressure keeps building, and I keep adding stuff to my to do list, I keep realizing how truly important those things that we often abuse, and take for granted really our. Like our health, our spouses, our children, our friends. You don't realize what a vital part of your existence they are, until their existence is threatened.

As my doctor's appointment approaches on Saturday, the fear of the worst wants to kick in. What if it's not something easy like a weird food allergy? What if it's something that I'm not prepared for? What if I have to quit fighting for good grades, and fight for my life instead? What if.....

It's mind numbing, and I find those 'what-if's' sneaking in during the quite moments of my day. I keep trying to tell her to shut up. I keep hoping that it's something simple. I hope that it's easy. I hope that it doesn't screw up my life too much. Then, I think about Andrea. She had all those hopes too. She had all those dreams too. Sure, her's might not have involved college, being a world renowned chef, having a cooking blog that makes me rich and famous, losing a million pounds, and being a Victoria's Secret model at 40, but she had them. As I've sat in class rooms this week, and looked around, it's hard to imagine giving up on that. It's hard to imagine any of it. Cancer and serious illness were supposed to be things we had to deal with when we got old. They were supposed to happen to other people, to other families. Not to us. Not to 30 years old. Not to 18 year olds. And certainly not to an innocent child.

Unfortunately, life doesn't always work the way that we plan. God's plan unfolds in there, and we are supposed to make the best of it. We are supposed to find the blessing. We are supposed to be the light to someone else's darkness. We aren't supposed to be the darkness, searching for a light.

I can only hope. I can only have faith. I can only hope that this is where my plans and God's plans are the same, or at least in the general vicinity of each other. I know this, the last few years, I've had a hard time coming up with something other than the usual "family, friends" thankful list. This year, I've discovered that I don't have to do a countdown to Thanksgiving on Facebook with the rest of my friends and family about what they are thankful for, simply because I've spent the last 2 months, finding it.

~She is clothed with strength and dignity; and she laughs at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

~Would you dare, would you dare to believe, that you still have a reason to sing? 'Cause the pain that you've been feeling, it can't compare to the joy that's coming. So hold on, you gotta wait for the light, press on and just fight the good fight. 'Cause the pain that you've been feeling, it's just the dark, before the morning. -Josh Wilson's Before the Morning

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