I’m not trying to tell Tommy’s story here. In fact, when he and I talked about this the other day, I told him that this is most definitely his story to tell, not mine. But there’s also a significance surrounding what’s happening right now that I believe needs to be shared – to help others. To help us.
So today is not so much Tommy’s story, but a mama’s story instead. This mama’s story. He may not be mine by birth, but he’s definitely mine by love.
Tommy is our 30-year old son-in-law.
He absolutely radiates love and laughter wherever he goes. He’s a husband. A daddy. A police officer. A hero. He actually runs towards people’s battles – strangers he doesn’t even know, many of whom will never come close to appreciating his sacrifice. Yet he still does this, anyways.
Tommy is just a kind man that way.
Right now, though, Tommy’s busy running towards his own battle. A big one. On June 12th, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. I’ve come to realize lately that this is just a most despicable word, isn’t it?
Yet here it is, now in our family’s daily vocabulary.
If you’ve been following me here on “Growing Nurse Debi”, you may remember my recent post, “When God just goes ahead and drops that bomb” – well … this was the “bomb” that inspired that writing. We were all still absolutely reeling at that point. Honestly, we still are.
You know, over this past month as both progress and setbacks have occurred, my mind keeps thinking the same strange thought:
This is just not what I pictured happening.
It seems a pretty silly thought to confess, but honestly … it just keeps coming to the forefront of my mind – every day, repeatedly, I just keep thinking these same words:
This is just not what I pictured happening.
Not when they joined hands on that beautiful beach.
Not when they welcomed their first child, our sweet Ruby Wren.
Not as I watched sweetness fall head over heels in love with her daddy.
And not as we recently celebrated her first birthday with doughnuts and sprinkles.
This is most definitely not what I pictured happening next or even ever. But guess what?
It happened, anyways.
As parents, we subconsciously have our children’s lives all planned out in our minds, don’t we? Sure, we know there will be twists and turns that’ll make their way uniquely their own, but we know it should basically unfold in a way that closely resembles “normal”. That just feels so safe, doesn’t it?
Plus, we just know what to do with “normal”.
As parents, we help guide our children through the bumps of life with the wisdom we’ve gained through our own experiences. Our own “normalness”. We help them figure out how to build a budget, what to do with a new baby, even how to fix a recipe gone wrong. That’s what we do.
Well … therein lies this mama’s struggle. I’ve never experienced anything such as this.
Even with all of the “not normalness” that both Lupus and nursing have brought into my life … this is just different. And suddenly now the roles have become strangely reversed and mama is now learning from her baby. Such a bizarre, helpless feeling.
So as I watch Tommy bravely face each new challenge head-on … as I watch our Hannah absorb it all with such strength and grace … as I watch the love of our combined families grow as we walk through all this together … as the support of Tommy’s police community continues to blow me away … and especially as little Ruby Wren smiles her way through every bit of this, blissfully oblivious to anything but the joy of exploring life … I know.
I don’t need to know what to do with this. None of us do. No matter what challenge we’re facing. We don’t need to try to fix it, accept it, or even try to understand it. Because we can’t. We simply can’t.
Honestly, I don’t even pretend to know why God allows challenges like these into our lives – they sure do hurt, don’t they? But I do know that He does it with love.
And even if this is just not what I pictured happening, God pictured it, for sure. He’s been preparing Tommy, Hannah, and all of us to fight this battle since before any of us ever came to be. And I also know that God is weaving His mysterious love not only throughout Tommy’s story, but also into the story of every, single one of us being touched by it.
This kind of ripple effect is boundless. Stunning. Truly unthinkable.
I’ve learned with my own challenges that we can’t try to avoid pain, ignore it, or even try to make it disappear. And it does no good getting angry and shaking our fists, either. Believe me. None of that works. And it’s just embarrassing.
We have to press into the pain, the challenge, the whatever. Just press deeper.
It’s deep down inside that pain where the comfort lies. The hope. The courage. Growth. Beauty. They’re all down in there.
So my prayer is that we can each press in to whatever we’re facing, and get to know God through it. Actively seek His beauty and come to know Him better. If you’ve ever been hurting and wondering where God is at that moment … well, this is where He is, my friends. Deep down in the center of it all, holding us. Holding absolutely everything.
Thanks for growing with me. ❤
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:13-16)
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)