Thanks to Irene for the card. I'm knocked off my feet! You are prophetic!
Those of you who are old enough will remember Gilda Radner. She's one of my favorite comedians. Her character Roseanne Rosannadanna (or however she spelled it), has come to mind often this week. "It's always something!" Well my something at the moment is: my feet are killing me! I have gotten quite a number of well wisher notes that sound so excited for me. I'm done with chemo. I got to go on a weekend trip. It sounds like all is well. But that's not how I'm feeling it. Maybe it's just what happens after surgery. I remember week 3 after my other big operations. I wanted to be normal again. I wanted everything to work so I can live my life without thinking about my body. I am getting short tempered about my deficits. My peripheral neuropathy - a side effect of chemo - is quite painful and I just didn't want to get out of bed yesterday. And that's the way it was. I had a great weekend seeing wonderful people but I couldn't dance like I like to at weddings and on Sunday my feet were bad enough that I felt bad for Walt who had to walk next to me. It's so humbling to hobble around.
Of course, I did get up yesterday because that's just me. I forced myself out the door and what do you think happened? I saw the glory of God everywhere I went. First was the mom with two little girls. The girls were awestruck at the display of Easter lilies. "Mom, look! They are beautiful!" This girl, undistracted by pain, was able to point out the natural beauty before me. God's creation. Thank you. Then I went to Trader Joe's where we know the manager. I received a warm greeting and how was Walt and what were we doing for the weekend. Just hearing his interest and all that we were doing for the weekend (regardless of sore feet) was enough to lift my mood. Then there was Costco. Our Costco has the friendliest staff imaginable. After that I went to the cleaners where a woman asked the cashier to have a blessed day and her smile just beamed like the sun. God in his glory had brought me from darkness to light through everyday people and experiences. Thank God I didn't stay in bed!
So I've been thinking a lot about suffering. Catholics celebrate Holy Thursday today. Jesus is celebrating the Last Supper knowing his greatest suffering was close at hand. He is thinking of his disciples and what they will go through because of their faith in him, so he washes their feet in service to them. They will soon become the servant leaders who will give their lives for others. They have plenty of suffering in their future. Listen to this news about suffering from Hebrews 4:
Although he was the son of God, Christ learnt to obey through suffering, and he became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation.
If Christ can learn through suffering, than so will I. I don't understand it, but I know he is in me and shares his life with me, and so I believe I will grow in obedience. Obedience to the Father's will. Now that's exciting. And I will celebrate tonight regardless of pain, because Jesus did. I live my life intentionally to give praise, honor, and glory to God. If I can't find him when I have suffering, what is my faith worth? I look around me and I see lots of people suffering worse than I. Faith - not pain - makes the difference in life. I am going through a difficult time but I am not alone. My needs are always met. My God hears my prayers. He is my strength and my fortress. These are not just mere words from scripture. They are my experience.
I was thinking I have been acting like the Israelites. My surgery was like the parting of the Red Sea. I came out of captivity (almost all the cancer is gone) and into the desert (post surgery and chemo). It didn't take me long to forget how bad it was a month ago and start complaining about my neuropathy! The Israelites said to God, "Why did you bring us out here to die in the desert?" I will not repeat history again. I know he has a plan and I am better off now than before. I will work on ending my complaining. May I never be found ungrateful. I've been given so much.
Then I was thinking about Easter. Easter is the biggest news ever. The death and rising of Our Lord has made a way for every person to live forever in the pain-free loving environment of heaven with him. It's the parting of the Red Sea that is for real taking us out of captivity. I don't know why the second coming is taking so long (I think it has something to do with God's love for us AND THE WORLD and our readiness), but it has created another desert like experience. We are not satisfied. We complain. We are redeemed people living in a world in desperate need of redeeming. But let's remember this Easter that the answer is already here. The love of God is alive and working in the world. He has given us his Holy Spirit to continue the work of renewal until he comes again. We don't have to give in to complaining! We have much proclaiming to do! You only have to look around you and you will find needs to be met in love!
Here is a blessing from Laura Brummer. She is a gifted artist and one of the Christians in Mission that we visited last weekend for John and Colleen Bowar's wedding. I "proclaim" these words to be true. Recognize the gift we have in an all loving God and have a Happy Easter everyone! If you aren't Christian and you are reading this, know God's love extends to all of us! He is there for us!