Today is a tough day.
As I walk into the waiting room of the radiation treatment center where I’ve been “attending” for the last two weeks, I see a familiar face. A young mom, accompanied by a young child no more than 14 months old, sits in the chairs near by. I recognize her immediately. Madison, as I’ve come to learn the little girl’s name, moves about the chairs, busy as a little bee. She’s easy to spot in this large waiting room because she’s such a contrast to so many of the other patients sitting in the room. She’s energetic and her belly laughs can be heard from across the room. She’s a breath of fresh air in this otherwise serious place.
From the first day I see her in the waiting room, my heart melts for this young mom. My mind wrestles with the question of who is receiving the treatment. Is it the mom? Is she experiencing life like me–trying to balance her health issues with small children in tow? Or, is it Madison? Could this sweet and innocent child be waiting here oblivious to her cancer? I can’t bear to think of it. Turns out, it is neither mom nor child. Instead, it is the dad. I remember when he came out from the changing area, walking deliberately and slowly with the aid of a walker. I immediately felt flushed when I realized I was staring at his bald head and he caught me. Like many others sitting among me in the room, he’s endured chemo. A man, in his late twenties maybe, fighting the battle of his life.
Today tests my ability to “hold it together”. Today the dad is having a tough day. I watch him rush off to the waiting room bathroom, as fast as his weak legs and walker allow, and hear him retching. I notice the look of sadness and fear in his wife’s eyes as she rushes over to assist him. All the while, sweet Madison entertains herself by playing peek a boo with the front desk staff. Today I want to shout to the world that THIS IS NOT FAIR. Today I want to hug and comfort the mom. I want to tell her that she does not deserve this punishment.
Friends, I want to see sunshine in every situation. I’ve been consciously focusing on the good of this cancer journey. Most days, I am blown away by kindness and thoughtfulness of everyone around us. I smile as I open my mail and get some precious note from an old friend–telling me they are praying for me, lifting me, thinking of me. I appreciate that total strangers have brought us meals and loved on us without any expectations in return. I love that I’ve seen community in my neighborhood as neighbors have rallied my entire family. I’m in awe of the workings that are happening to us all the time. Today, I search in my soul for courage to trust and pray for guidance that a plan bigger than I can ever know or understand is at play.
More than ever, I know that these patients need hope and I’ll continue to tuck little notes of encouragement in every nook and cranny of the treatment center. Perhaps this is how I fit into the puzzle and how God is at work in me through this journey.