I wrote this before I sent the update out to family and friends about Mike. I had intended to send this first but more words were put on my heart to share instead.
So I thought I would share these words here for those of you interested. there is some overlap between the two posts:) So take it for what it is worth to you :)
I want to be angry , because I am, that he is suffering each day. I want to hate cancer and the universe for inflicting him with it. I want to curse the fact that it is trying to break our family into a million pieces. Because , damn if it isn’t trying it’s best to do that. I want to crawl into the darkness it has created in our days and sit and sulk in my very own selfish pity party. My humanness wants to question where God is in these moments of sadness.
This is what cancer tries to do. It creates a pitch black sea of darkness that I sometimes want to to succumb to. This is the reality of the suffering it can create. It leaves me with that same sick feeling that I get from deep sea fishing in the roughest of seas.
I come from a diehard family of fisherman/women. As a little girl ,I would try to join in the fun on deep sea trips. But my stomach has been weak since birth and I was usually left with only catching the throw ups. 🤢
Advice to master sea sickness on a boat is this(Easier said than done :)).....
Go to the fly bridge.
Eyes on the horizon.
Fight through it.
Or surrender and sleep it off.
And try again to keep your eyes on the horizon.
As a child , my grandfather , dad ,and men in my life’s lesson was this...
We don’t go back , we are most likely on top of the fish , stick it out, and toughen up :)
And we stayed all day , even if you were sick. (Probably why I didn’t go too often 😉)
I think at the time, all I could think about was being back on steady land. But I would try to take their advice.
I would go up top and sit and feel the breeze on my face. Try to lay perfectly still until I had a moment of relief and try to sip a coke and choke down a couple pretzels.
And yet I have this memory of sitting up top with loved ones and looking out at the horizon.
As far as you can see there is a visible line where the sky meets the sea. It is far , far away but still very visible.
Keep your eyes there , they say.
It doesn’t move , it is constant.
I’m starting to believe , as we navigate these treacherous seas of life , that this is where Gods grace meets you. A moment of relief when the pain becomes unbearable.
There is an important life lesson here in my childhood memories of what it means to fight the waves while surrendering to all the sea of life throws at you.
I have learned through riding these waves with Mike , that Gods grace lies on the horizon.
When you are in that place where you feel so sick you can’t sit up , so unstable that you might not be able to take another step . When you are finally able to admit your weakness because you are that weak.
Tough-in up. Fight back. Then surrender.
God will meet you here when you have done all you know to do.
(Now it wasn’t that bad on the boat , I’m a little dramatic so I’m sure I acted like it was. 😉)
But how am to I stick it out on the rough seas of life? The storm of cancer is life long .
How do I settle my stomach when the waves just keep knocking us completely over?
When the swells sometimes feel as though they will swallow us ?
When they just keep coming and coming with NO end in sight?
The effects of cancer , like waves, keep coming.
I am learning that I must keep my eyes on the horizon.
I looked up the Webster meaning of horizon. This was the first one.
1: the line where the earth seems to meet the sky : the apparent junction of earth and sky - sailing toward the horizon
I believe the horizon where God meets humanness . Where he knows we are too sad to take another step. And so we can actually feel his touch and love.
Here there are no answers and yet we are left with the peace that surpasses all understanding. It is a thin space where there is no wrong or right. Only love. The moment will not last forever but it will save you until you find the next pretzel.
I’m learning to let others along the journey lead me to the horizon. That’s what people and angels on this earth are here for. I must keep my eyes open to them. They are my lighthouses. I need them for survival. We are born with an innate instinct to meet people when they are shattered. Grace.
I believe that Faith is being able to believe that far on the horizon everything will be ok. That Gods grace will catch you there.
I must take my mind off of my own self pity and believe in the big picture of life. To believe in love.
I must trust the journey. Trust in faith. And trust that God is putting people in your lives to guide us, love us , and help us continue to believe.
On Saturday I was reminded again about why we choose hope in the horizon instead of drowning in despair.
Thank you for giving us hope. Thank you for loving our family. Thank you for your donations. Thank you for supporting us in our efforts to make this disease a thing of the past.
Thank you for showing up for us.
You are our coke and pretzels.
You are our horizon on the roughest seas.
You are Gods grace through our own personal hurricane Michael that has tried to wreck our lives.
I will never stop being thankful for what you do for us.
We just hope and pray you can feel our gratitude on the ten fold.
One random Tuesday this summer, Jake had some neighborhood friends over. My mom came over to stay so I could meet mike for treatment at Winship. When I was about to leave Jake’s buddy asked him , “ why is your dad going to the doctor ?” , confused at why he would not be at work on a random Tuesday lunch time.
And Jake says, nonchalantly, “ he has Leukemia” . And they went back to playing.
My heartbreaks in these moments.
Moments like Saturday morning
as I watched Celia , matter of factly proudly write , I run for .... “my daddy” on the bib for her shirt For the race.
But it’s here where Gods grace meets me. This is our horizon. The thin line between suffering and finding purpose. We keep fighting the waves of pain to try to find purpose,so that the next 7 year old boy down the street won’t have to tell his buddies his daddy has leukemia.
We have to look far out into the distance , and have faith in what we can not see. Faith in trusting our journey.
The fourth Webster definition of horizon was this
: something that might be attained
opening up new horizons in the field of cancer research
It’s here on the brink of the horizon where hope lies in the future of treatments from the gifts you freely give for our family that touches the lives of all cancer patients.
I can’t stay I chose to fall into the sea of hope every time. Because something will open up on the horizon if we work toward it and believe in it.
We choose to stay here!
Here in hope!
Here in love!
Here in trust !
And believe Gods grace will always catch us at the horizon if we keep our focus oh him. And soon enough , grace will catch us with my sweet baby niece , Grace, coming any moment !
Etty Hillesum, young Jewish woman who died at Auschwitz,wrote in her journal , “To look life straight in the eye, to see its pain and to see its beauty—this is an essential part of glimpsing the way forward. “
We keep trusting. Keep swimming. Lindsey because of this .