As I sat alone, crying over Chick-fil-A… the conversation with myself began with the all too familiar feeling of being punched in the gut and wanting to barf, followed by a wave of sadness that draws upward from the core of my soul, and then slowly drips from my eyes as the thought of possibly losing my son becomes too much to bare. In a matter of seconds all of the possible scenarios run through my mind, like a movie reel…. except it happens in the blink of an eye. It always brings me to the same place. This place back away from the “great wall of cancer”. A place where I stand behind myself and observe myself once again having tried to come at that wall with force, the initial fighting attitude that gave me the belief I could destroy anything that messes with my children. After running into the wall with all my might for months, maybe a year, I got wise and realized it wasn’t moving. “Ah ha”, I thought, I’ll pace the perimeter of this wall all the way east as far as I can go, certainly there is a hole, a crack, a tunnel or a ladder that will help me conquer this wall and get to the other side. Diligently I walked and walked and then frantically I ran…. only to find nothing… it’s solid and it’s fool proof.
“That’s bullshit”, I thought. “Fine then, I’ll go to the west, certainly I’ll find an escape there.” I walked and scanned and searched and scoured, I jogged and then ran and screamed and sobbed and ran some more until I realized there was absolutely no way over, under, around or through this wall. I cannot control cancer.
Because I’m human, and a very slow learner, everytime I would back away from the wall, I’d find myself repeatedly walking into it. Trying to check out or numb out, or run away from it. I thought travel or alcohol, or medication would make it go away. Those escapes were even shorter lived than my journey along the wall.
All day I have put off preparing what I might teach in Sunday School this week and also have been reminding myself that I was asked to speak at a upcoming Young Women’s New Beginnings meeting. As I sit here with three half empty Chick-fil-A sauces and half a lemonade in front of me I realized that both my Sunday School lesson and the topic I’ll introduce to the young women are about the Savior, His Atonement, and the peace only he can offer.
It occurred to me that I don’t need to prepare anything. I am living the atonement. If I didn’t have the Savior and the peace and comfort He provides me I would literally be in a psych ward. Not kidding.
I can walk into that damn wall as many times as I want. I can scream, kick, cry and mourn until I have nothing left in me, but the only way…. THE ONLY WAY I will survive this situation my family is in, is to look up, extend my hand, and allow the Savior to walk with me. He knows how I feel, in fact, he has felt it. He knows how every member of my family feels. He knows the loss, the sadness, the mourning, the loneliness, the anger, fear, frustration …. in fact, he knows exactly how Riley feels, didn’t he watch on as his mother wept over His suffering?
When I move back away from the wall and look to the Savior I find I am living in this moment. I am not worrying about the future, I am not dwelling on the past, I am not buying any of the stories my mind is telling me, because I am looking intently and directly into the eyes of the Savior and I can feel compassion and love in its purest form.
If I waste my time repeatedly walking into that wall, constantly worrying about what others think, repeatedly visiting my past and continually worrying about the future, I’m not only wasting my time, I’m also wasting His. I’m wasting that infinite and completely sacred act of sacrifice the Savior so willingly and lovingly gave for me…. FOR ME.
This is our life, right now, this minute, it’s not a dress rehearsal, it’s the real deal, and we only get one shot. Doesn’t it make so much more sense to use the gift I’ve been given? To stay present ? To trust the Savior? Than it does for me to get up in my head and think for one second I can do this alone or that my way is better than His?
Why run to the wall and miss out on all the space and time between here and there ? Why turn around and look at the past ?….it’s gone! Wouldn’t the best option be to look to someone I trust, to someone who’s been there and to someone who is willing to walk each step of the way with me, offering peace in each moment?
And then…. when the time comes for me to go over that wall, when my numbered days are spent, this “someone”, my Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ himself, will walk with me to the other side, for He knows the way, he’s been there.
If I want peace there is one place to find it and one simple formula to follow…
The Savior said…
“Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.”