The long day home

It felt like a long way home today. Like most things in life, I’ve discovered without experiencing chemotherapy first hand or as a caregiver, one can’t quantify what a treatment entails.

They are just words. Until it’s you. Or your husband.

Today was treatment number three. The first of cycle two. There will be nine more treatments.

I don’t want to write much about cancer or chemo or ports or blood counts. We choose how much press we give each bit of our lives.

I’m by education and nature a journalist. I’m old enough that journalism was delivered three ways when I was in school – paper, radio, TV. I am a print girl.

We learned that placemat mattered. Stick with me, media haters.

I still remember the feeling of getting my first story ABOVE the fold. The more space we gave a story and the spot in the paper assigned to it, gave your story a clear.

It’s a concept lost to 24 hour news cycles where page 20 stories get as much time as front page with a big photo above the fold stories.

Our view today of downtown Little Rock

I won’t allow my husband’s diagnosis to get above the fold. While I think it’s important to be authentic about our struggles on this earth, there is this fine line that plunges us deep into the darkness of magnifying the thing.

Here’s the thing. It’s never about the thing. That’s the secret.

The thing doesn’t make you. The thing reveals what’s already there. Maybe you didn’t know it was there. But, it was. Cancer doesn’t make people strong. It’s broken many. Pressure, you see, breaks the fractured and yet solidifies the strong.

God put us on earth for a purpose. And it’s not to fight cancer. This diagnosis is a distraction.

“The thing doesn’t make you. The thing reveals what’s already there … Cancer doesn’t make people strong.”

If you’re researching and devoting your life to finding a cure and treating patients like my brave man, then it’s top of the fold for you to be sure. And rightly so. It’s your gift to this world. And a big one. Thank you. (THANK YOU. Doctors and nurses and techs and pharmacy peeps and valet dudes and every one in between. Thank you!)

Someone with good intentions asked if we would do a page dedicated to this battle (if you’re called to do that then do not let this deter you from it), but I know He didn’t call us to it. Our life is much more than these months with CBCs and night sweats and doctor appointments and blood draws.

It’s easy to let this kind of thing shadow our life like an outline over every single thing. I’ve been here before, facing the thing with the ugly name I didn’t wanna do. Like lay on the ground and kick and scream don’t wanna. But, I gotta.

And maybe today you gotta. Maybe it feels like a long day home. Like you’ll never get there. The cozy spot at home. You’re out there fighting, working, facing the thing and you just wanna get home.

Or maybe it’s literally a long day AT home and you just want to escape. Whatever the circumstance, don’t let the temporary circumstance, the thing you don’t wanna, become your front page news.

New song, new lyrics

At the newspaper we counted story length in inches. Not in words. But in literally how much space it would take up on the page.

How many inches are you giving the thing that the enemy brought to distract you from your true purpose? How big is the picture you’ve placed on the front page of your life that’s been painted by the enemy? You know the one? It’s the one that’s about your broken past, your uncertain future. The one about the pain and the damage and the people who did you the worst. This, my friend, is not YOUR picture.

The Lord has a big picture that belongs on your front page. It’s beautiful, hopeful, a tapestry of restoration, redemption and the promise of a life of abundance, peace and joy.

Yes. Even you. Even me.

Not long ago I was taught in a sermon how deftly the enemy paints a picture for us of a foreboding future. One we often believe. Here’s the secret – he doesn’t know your future.

Playing guitar after treatment 3

I know the one who does. And I know what mine looks like – peace, joy, health, abundance. And here’s the good news – what He does for one He does for you.

It’s time to rewrite your front page. It’s time to tear up that picture of the broken past and the unknown future. It’s time to give the press, the space, the energy to the reason you’re here.

Today wasn’t an easy one. But we did it. Together.

We had a great view overlooking a hazy Arkansas skyline with the beautiful state capital in the distance. Our kind neighbors gladly watched Wilder when it went hours past expected. My sweet sister made us delicious chili and my mom brought Scott’s beloved no-bake cookies. About a million prayers were lifted for us. We felt them.

Today felt a long way home. But, tonight we are settled back cozy and Scott is well enough to play his guitar, a new song and lyrics divinely given to him while I fell asleep in my son’s bed tucking him in.

There are so many headlines I could give today, so many inches I could devote to snags in the day and frustrations. Some days I plunge right down that road of woe.

Not tonight. Not tomorrow.

Our story is not perfect. In it there will be battles and pain and hurt. But none of it can squash the hope or diminish His truth for our future. It’s no accident this was the verse of the day in my Bible app today.

“Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 10:23

That, my friend, is your headline. Today. Tomorrow. Every day. Even when it’s a long day home.

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