Sunday, April 28, 2013

I Feared Anyway


Supposedly God says “Do not fear” 365 times in the Bible, once for every day of the year.

I feared anyway.

My husband just took the shortest Emmaus Walk in the history of the world- 22 hours from start to finish.  The Emmaus Walk, if you don’t know, is a Christian retreat tradition that dates back to the 1960’s.  It’s 4 days in the woods with nothing but solitude and Jesus.  No phone, no lights, no motorcars.  No way to call your wife.

I cried the whole time he was gone.

I made it 16 hours before I called the camp.  I was mad.  I was hurt.  This was just not the right time for him to go away.  We have too much stress in our lives right now- heavy, caustic burdens that I can’t bear by myself.  And I had to tell him right then because I knew that if I suffered the weekend, it would take months to bind the wounds.

But I couldn’t say any of that.  I could only cry and say you left us.

He came right home.

Last July, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, a very aggressive but relatively easy cancer to treat.  Four months from diagnosis to cure– bloodwork, CT scans, surgery, port catheter, IV’s, drug cocktails, shots.  80+ hours of poison dripping into my husband’s veins.  A pulmonary embolism.  Chemo and third grade started in the same week.  His goatee fell out on his 37th birthday.  I saw it, a clump of hair missing from his chin when I was giving him a cupcake.  He was too weak to blow out the candle and too nauseated to eat the cake.  

That’s cancer.

But now he is cancer free.  Divinely touched by Yahweh-rapha, God who heals, and sent back to life.  Emails to answer, homework to check, grass to cut, dog to walk, bills to pay.  Life.

It’s been 206 days since he last sat in that chemo chair.  On every one of those days, God has told me not to fear and I did it anyway.  I feared that my husband would die.  Everyday.  I just didn’t realize it until he went away.  I don’t want to spend a weekend without him, much less a life.  I fell utterly apart. 

But that was all yesterday.  Today, I’m safe and loved in a cabin in the Smokey Mountains with both of my boys.  Nobody left.  Nobody died.  Instead we retreated together.

I’m now on the sofa writing with the dog at my feet, and the boys are playing pool in the rec room below.  In the cabin next to us, 5 musicians unpack.  One of them plays his trumpet on the balcony.  Surreal.  And God watches over all from above, just as he said he would.

Earlier this morning, my husband called the boy and me outside to look at the clouds.  In the distance, we could see the blue horizon of the mountains covered under an endless blanket of clouds.  Covered.

There was one wisp of a cloud that had descended to settle in the valley below.  Just one wisp.

Behold He comes
Riding on a cloud
Shining like the sun
At the trumpet’s call

I am in the valley, but I am not alone.  A trumpet calls desolate and Jesus descends, gentle in the mist, to sit with me.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
 I will fear no evil, for You are with me; 
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

Thank you Abba for telling me every single day not to fear.  Keep telling me.  Keep telling me.