I am now free of my chemotherapy pump. A few of you were graced with the gift of seeing the oh-so-stylish fanny pack on Tuesday afternoon, and you could see that there’s not that much to it. The pump does all the work, I don’t have to push any buttons, and it’s pretty lightweight. I just strap it around my waist, or sling it over my shoulder because that is just SO MUCH COOLER, and off I go.
However, the pump brings a heavy, heavy mental burden. The machine makes a quiet whooshing noise every 2 minutes or so, as another 0.1 mL of drug is sent speeding through the several feet of clear plastic tubing into my body. While I am somewhat comforted in the fact that there is something tangible attacking the cancer inside me, it is a constant reminder that I am facing a giant. The pump noise and presence repeatedly pulls my mind away from the presence of God and back to the diagnosis, the presence of cancer.
Now that’s it’s gone, I feel so much lighter. I just finished savoring a delightful shower (can’t really do that while on the pump – too tricky to keep the port site dry). The side effects have been about the same as last time, or maybe a little bit better. Thank you so much for the prayers specifically about minimal side effects. I know God is granting that request.
After finishing my last post, I thought of a few other thoughts along the same vein.
If anyone is confused about how to savor life, I prescribe the following:
They are the MASTERS at savoring.
I was thinking about this two nights ago, while listening to Camden (age 5) pray.
“Dear God, please help everyone in our family to have a good time all the time.”
This is an oft-repeated prayer of his. I used to just smile, thinking in my snooty, grown-upness, “Well, that’s so simplistic of him. Some day he’ll learn that’s impossible. Everyone has burdens and trials and no one has a good time all the time.”
Um, wait a second. He’s only praying for us to do as Romans 12:9 says: cling to what is good. Of course trouble will come. But Jesus said it too, didn’t he: “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Preach on, Camden.
So watch children. Listen to their wisdom. Here’s some examples:
Riding down the road today, the excitement from the carseats: “Look! Diggers!” – savoring
(Imagine a low, dramatic voice from my 3 yr old:)
“Mommy. Guess. what.
Nana (pause) made (pause) us… (dramatic pause for effect)…CHOCOLATE MILK!!” – savoring
“Nana, why do we pray before we eat?”
“Because we tell Jesus thank you for our food, because He gives it to us because He loves us. What else did He do to show us He loves us?”
“He died on the cross.”
“That’s right, so we can go to heaven some day.”
from my 3 yr old: “That’s where Anna is! Is there more than one heaven?”
“No, there’s just one heaven.”
from my 5 yr old: “But if there were two heavens, Anna would be in the BEST one.”
I wonder, you know the story about Jesus telling his disciples to let the children come to Him? I wonder if it did Jesus, in his human nature, just as much good as it did those kiddos. I wonder if it didn’t lift his burdened spirit. Someday I look forward to asking Him about it.
I do not want to give the false impression that I am extremely well-read and spend countless hours reading spiritual books, but I want to quote Brennan Manning from “The Ragamuffin Gospel” again. He says what I’m trying to say with much prettier words.
“By and large our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose.
We get so preoccupied with ourselves, the words we speak, the plans and projects we conceive, that we become immune to the glory of creation. We barely notice the cloud passing over the moon or the dewdrops clinging to the rose petals. We grow complacent and lead practical lives. We miss the experience of awe, reverence, and wonder.
So often we religious people walk amid the beauty and bounty of nature and we talk nonstop. We miss the panorama of color and sound and smell. We might as well have remained indoors in our closed, artifically lit living rooms. Nature’s lessons are lost and the opportunity to be wrapped in silent wonder before the God of creation passes. We fail to be stretched by the magnificence of the world saturated with grace. Creation doesn’t calm our troubled spirits, restore our perspective, or delight us in every part of our being. It reminds us instead of mundane chores: changing the page on the calendar or ordering our snow tires. ”
He quotes Frederick Buechner:
“For what we need to know, of course, is not just that God exists…but that there is a God right here in the thick of our day-to-day lives who…in one way or another is trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world.”
Manning again: “How do we live in the presence of the living God? In wonder, amazed by the traces of God all around us.”
So spend some time with kids. Watch them. They will teach us to wonder, to savor.
God tells us to have child-like faith. So might as well get ready: heaven will be full of 5 year olds!