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No Sting, or Walking in the Valley

Recently my world was rocked. And not in a good way.

Dad with a very young Baby L.
My dad received some very troubling news from the radiologist and the oncologist.  There are tumors on his lungs, in his lymph nodes, and in the fluid between his lungs and his chest (pleural effusion, I think it's called). There's a spot on his liver as well.  They need to do aggressive treatments to kill the malignant cells.  My dad has Stage 4 lung cancer, and though we don't know if he has weeks, months or years left on this mortal plane, the prognosis isn't good.

Which is hard for me to deal with.  My dad is only 70.  He is stubborn and jovial and charming and a smartass.  He's the guy who whips up your favourite dinner because you lavish him with compliments, and the social butterfly who works the room like it's his party at every social event.  He tells the best (and most hyperbolic) stories about his early years, and proudly shows off his kids and grandkids at every opportunity.  He is quick to tease with a smile and a wink, and equally quick to show his annoyance when you can't figure out how many cribbage points you have in your hand (he does it with just a glance at the cards).  He is a character and a half, filled with a deep, deep love for his family despite not being comfortable enough to utter the words.  He's Daddy.  In my mind, he would be around until he was 100.  At least. And then he'd be the old ornery fart who yelled at everyone in the nursing home, using his age as his justification for behaving badly.  This is what I was expecting.  Not words like chemotherapy and carcinoma. Not a timeline, and not for Baby L to grow up without her Gong-Gong.

Whereas others might take to tears and to questioning God, I find myself clinging to Him like a child desperately wanting to be near to her heavenly Father and asking for mercy and healing for her earthly one. 

I mean, I realize that I am already blessed, and many of our friends have lost their dads far earlier than I have; he has lived to give all of his daughters away to men who love them, watch his son take a bride, and love on several grandbabies.  He was recently able to return to his hometown, a place he hadn't seen in many decades, as well as travel around to parts of China that he has never seen before. I know that God has already given him a very full, very exciting life, and is giving him an eternity that outstrips this short earthly stint in every conceivable way.  To live is Christ, and to die is gain is how the apostle Paul describes it, and I think that's very apt.  Because my dad is going to be with Jesus, I know that I will get to see him again one day.  Good-bye isn't really good-bye, just "see you later." So, from the big-picture, faith-oriented perspective, there is no sting in death, and I have every reason to rejoice despite this crappy news.

However, my sin nature is self-oriented; I am selfish, and I want my Daddy to live as long as I do.  I do not want the pain of losing him, and I am not happy that he might have to suffer in the foreseeable future, because that means I also have to suffer.  From my very human perspective, it isn't right that my dad might be gone soon, and that he might have to go in such an abrupt and ugly way.  It's not fair that he should leave before he can watch his granddaughter grow up, or go on a bunch of family trips to Disneyland with us.  I resent that he won't be around to make his gourmet meals and secret recipe BBQ pork for me, or swap jokes with Hubbs while enduring shopping trips with my mom and I.  I am angry that he doesn't get to enjoy several more decades of life, now that he has finally retired after working so hard for so many years just to put food on the table; he deserves to enjoy his life right now, not battle an ugly disease!  I am worried because my mom will be alone. I am grief-stricken because I will miss him.

And so my flesh wages war with my soul, and my selfish desires struggle against the Spirit living in me.  My emotions sway back and forth, precarious in its position and ever-shifting from one end of the pendulum to the other.  I am joyful and sorrowful all at the same time, and sometimes in alternating fashion.  Sometimes I can face tomorrow boldly, and sometimes I cannot even imagine it.  Sometimes I am strong and stoic, and other times I am a puddle of grief.

I have never gone down this path before, and I am scared. God give me the strength to walk this road. Thank You for taking this journey with me, with us, and especially with Dad; You have promised never to leave us nor forsake us. Please help us take this one day at a time, and carry us (carry Dad) when the grief or the pain of our burden threatens to crush us. Thank You that You are able and that You love us, and that You can use even this for Your glory. I trust You, Father God, for I know You are good all the time, on the mountain and in the valley. But it really sucks in the valley, so please be gracious to us and bring about a miraculous healing if You are willing. In Jesus' name, amen.

Comments

Oh my friend. I have no words for you. There are no words. Just prayers. Your prayer to The Lord is so beautiful and such a reminder that He is in charge and has his plan. Ill be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Love and hugs to you.
Jel said…
So sorry to hear that news :(
mitzerella said…
i wish your dad strength for the fight to come. he does not need to be a hero, if hes uncomfortable or experiencing side effects affecting quality of his life he needs to tell the nurses/doctors
~Rain``` said…
Oh Dear Mrs. L, how I pray for you right now, that God will grant you and your family PEACE during this difficult time. And may God grant your Daddy PEACE right now as well. May he experience GRACE like he has never experienced before.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Thank you all. It's greatly appreciated! :)

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