Following my couple of days of being under the weather with a nasty cold, I was prepared to write an absolutely hilarious post about the difficulties faced when you’re sniffly and feverish. You know, numerous dirty tissues piling up on the table near your bed, losing your voice, never knowing which nasal cavity will plug up next. I was prepared to include lots of complaining and reasons for you all to feel very sorry for me.
And then I learned yesterday that my good friend, who has been diagnosed with cancer and has spent the past few months feeling nauseous, losing her hair, and battling never-ending fatigue, has been told that her tumor is inoperable.
Suddenly my cold complaints weren’t funny any more. A few sniffles, a temperature only slightly above normal, a bit of hacking. Not worth a single complaint.
Not when my friend is looking at her own illness with such amazing courage and grace. From the moment she learned her diagnosis, she has not complained. At least not to me. In fact, she recently told me, “You know what I’ve learned about myself? I’m pretty darn strong.”
My sister Jen says while no one understands why bad things happen to people, she is convinced that God never turns his back. When things get difficult, he lifts us up, she says. That’s how she describes it. He lifts us up.
She should know better than most. About 15 years ago, Jen’s daughter Maggie – 25 years old or so at the time — was hit by a drunk driver as she walked across the street. She was airlifted to a trauma hospital where her outlook was ominous. “That’s something no parent should have to deal with,” she told me. “No parent faced with something that terrifying can handle it alone.”
Jen told me that as soon as she got the phone call that no mother ever wants to get, she did something that no one would have predicted. Rather than falling to pieces and becoming paralyzed with fear – something anyone who knows her would have predicted and understood completely – she instead became uncharacteristically calm, and began immediately making well-thought-out decisions and providing support to her family, and most importantly, to Maggie.
“God was with me during that horrible time,” she says. “He lifted me up.” Maggie recovered and now is married and is the mother of Austin and Lilly, featured regularly on Nana’s Whimsies.
And God is lifting up my friend. And her husband. And all of us who love her. She may not always think so, but God will not turn his back on her.