I am slowly dying. I guess, in a way, we all are. But some die sooner than others. I guess the worst part of an uncertain future is not knowing when it is coming. And wanting so desperately for more time…
I recently found out that my lymphatic system has been compromised. I knew this day was coming, I did. It just was not as far off as I had hoped and dreamed it would be. I mean, I could see what was happening to my body. Every new ache and pain squeezing away more time, bit by bit. Every time I noticed my legs were bigger, I knew. It wasn’t that I was turning a blind eye. It was just that I was not ready to face the truth of the situation. So I continued on, covering my legs with something that made me happy like a funky leopard print blanket or wearing long pants in the blazing summer sun just so I wouldn’t have to look at them. Because sometimes, it just hurts.
Comments from people who do not know me or my situation hurt. I try not to think about them or let them get to me, but words are powerful and they sting. I still remember overhearing someone I thought was my friend say if they ever looked like me they would jump off a bridge. Yikes. Am I really that offensive? I don’t feel like it. I wish I could express how I feel about myself in words, but sometimes that is not possible. So, here it is…
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these are my words. I feel like a skinny woman trapped inside the body of someone I do not know. Many times I have walked by a mirror only to catch a glimpse of myself and think, is that what I really look like? My insides do not match my outsides. Sometimes I feel like my body is a prison and I can never escape.
Deep down, I know that is not true. My body may be a prison full of pain, but it will never hold me forever. It is not death to die. It is life for me. I can tell you this with absolute certainty – because of Christ, I have been made new. My spirit – my very soul – will one day match my body. And it won’t be riddled with pain or massive adipose tissue. Thank you, Jesus! It is on the hardest days when my heart is aching with the thought of living like this for one more minute that You pour into me this truth.
Yes, I am slowly dying. I do not know how long this life will be. But I do know my strength is failing. In church on Sunday, standing at the front of the church leading worship with some wonderful friends, I nearly broke down and wept as I struggled to sing these words:
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
And on that day when my strength is failing
the end draws near and my time has come
still my soul with sing your praise unending
10,000 years and then forever more
My soul does sing. It sings in the brokenness. It sings through the pain. It sings in the uncertainty. It sings and sings and sings.
And while my soul is singing, I see glimmers of hope. I encounter someone in a smilliar situation as me. While outwardly she looks worse for wear, she is walking on her own two feet unassisted. I walked away with my soul singing even louder, shouting praise as God breathed more hope into this weary body.
I am slowly dying. I do not know if the days will be long or if they will be short. And so I savour every moment with such joy. The treasure of my children. The mundane tasks of cleaning mud stains out of spring jackets can be a little bit sweeter now. The soft touch of a husband I desperately hope I won’t have to leave behind too soon. Cherishing every moment. Every phone call from every loved person. Every situation good or bad is a situation I can be thankful for because it is a situation I am LIVING in. Alive. Breathing hope.
Thank you Jesus, for these moments. Thank you for being Hope.