One of my favorite things about being ill over a stretch of time (believe it or not it has it’s perks), is frequenting the movie theater. In the morning though, it’s gotta be in the morning. Just because I can, and because tickets are $7.50. In my “daytime” pajamas, as May likes to call them. The only difference is my daytime pajamas have pockets in them. I think I will miss that when this is all over, as I’ve always prided myself on being a lady of leisure. I think this whole chemo bit has been a warm up lap for retirement, and I can confidently say I will do an incredible job when I enter my golden years, as I’ll be way ahead of the pack. Crossword puzzles, gardening, chair yoga, elastic waistbands 24/7, soup for dinner @ 4:30 and bedtime at 7pm. It’s really something we shouldn’t be embarrassed about looking forward to.
A few weeks ago I went and saw First Man, a film about the life & career of Neil Armstrong, culminating in his history making trip to the moon. Damien Chazelle puts you right into the cockpit, so you literally feel like you’re an astronaut being blast into outer space.
As I watched this film, I couldn’t help but clench my arm rests and hold my breath, because as far as I was concerned, I was terrified. I was being violently shaken, surrounded by all the things my worst nightmares include: no exit door, no light, scary sounds, going higher & faster, and of course, the feeling of being totally out of control.
But then….after several agonizing minutes of ascent, a cacophony of sounds, smoke, earthquake-like shaking & ripping…you reach orbit and everything changes.
You break out of the earth’s atmosphere, defying gravity. The seat belt harnesses stop their cutting. The shuttle decelerates from 3 G’s to motionless, in a split second. Everything stops, including Houston’s counting.
But then everything else begins. The sun, the moon. The stillness. Dazzling stars. Infinite, beautiful space.
This moment of ascent & leaving atmosphere struck an emotional cord with me, as I felt as though this mirrors my own struggle. I’ve spent the last 4-5 weeks in a state of extreme agitation & anxiety. Resisting, fighting, crying out to God, counting minutes to hours to days, to get to the end of this treatment. Fumbling around for the lever that might jettison me out of this awful cockpit.
And then, just like in the movie, at a white knuckled moment, I reached orbit. And everything changed. Not circumstantially, but in my mind and in my heart. I realized, really grasped deep down in my soul that this beautiful promise from Isaiah (43) applies to me:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…”
When you. Not if you, but when you. The Lord knows we are a broken people, living in a broken world, and we need more “when you’s” like this one. This verse has been an incredible comfort to me, and setting my mind on the God who spoke it, has allowed me to find a new stillness, one that passes all understanding, even in the hard parts.
Thank you to all my friends who’ve been praying for me. I can’t thank you enough! I’m getting so close!
I have treatment #7/8 this Friday. And don’t worry, the infusion lab has wifi so there will be no black Friday deals that escape me.
Love you all!