Thursday, May 30, 2013

Making It All Better

Sometimes as mothers we desperately wish we could make everything all better for our kids, don't we? We want to provide them a nice, smooth path with no bumps, weeds, or bruises. And when something goes wrong, we want to do anything we can to fix it. I had one of those moments recently. Grace's finger had been caught in the screen door, and I could immediately tell from her cry that something was both different and wrong. I rocked her in our rocking chair, prayed, sang, kissed her finger over and over, and did everything I could think of to soothe her. And I thought about how life will present her with oh so many owies through the years that I will be powerless to heal.
I also thought of a day last summer when a sweet, well-meaning woman at church inquired after my health. Referencing my cancer, she looked carefully at my eyes and noted how similar they are even though one is plastic. "You would never know the difference, would you?" she asked. I wanted to tell her that I can tell a difference every time I look in the mirror, but I am slowly learning to bite my tongue. For a while afterwards the comment grated on me, and I finally realized why. So often people want to tell me that my eyes look exactly the same, and to me the message is, "Isn't this great? You had cancer and lost an eye but nothing has changed. Everything is all better now." They want to make my cancer all better. But I don't want them to. My cancer changed me forever, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Because of my cancer I am much more personally acquainted with sudden, acute trauma. I know what it feels like to be told I have a life-threatening illness. I know what it is to worry if I will live to raise my children or wonder if it is safe to have more. I know what it feels like to look different, to have people stare and point. I know what it feels like to be afraid to go out in public and have people treat me like I’m handicapped. I know how awkward it feels to run into old friends who are afraid to talk about why I’m wearing an eye patch. I know how incredibly alone you can feel after a major loss when people don’t know what to say or do so they don’t say or do anything at all.

Now I know what all of these things feel like. And I hope I know in some small way how to better love and reach others who are hurting. I don't want anyone to make my cancer all better. That healing ultimately lies in the hands of my Savior, and He does an amazing job of providing the experiences I need to heal spiritually and emotionally from the trauma of my cancer.
In the same way, as much as I want to protect my kids and make everything all better, that really isn't my job. Its His. My job is to lead them to Him, let them feel His love, and know that in the end, no matter how many thorns and weeds are on the path, Jesus Christ will make it all better.

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