October 2, 2017
Last night, I picked up the boys from behavior therapy and we met Jeff and Henry for dinner.
When we got home, I tidied the kitchen.
We put on our pj’s and brushed our teeth.
I read the boys picture books on my bed.
I read aloud from 1 Nephi to my family.
Charlie said our prayer.
The little boys “went to bed,” meaning they played and talked and teased each other in their room for a good 75 minutes before finally falling asleep.
I read my book (World Without End by Ken Follett) for a good 75 minutes before falling asleep.
I had the distinct impression that life is good.
Jack is being cared for, and the way that has all come together and is progressing is miraculous, in the sense that God’s fingerprints are all over his life and mine.
My other boys now benefit from having regular, reliable family scriptures and prayers, and family nights where we can go out and do things together.
There is a sense of calm manageability in our home, at least much of the time.
This is a sea change.
I feel like a grown-up, where before I usually felt like an awkward adolescent who was inadequate and barely holding on. I feel as though I’ve emerged from one dark, cold corridor of my life and stepped into another. This one is brighter and warmer.
And yet. I went in for my first ever mammogram recently and was called back (to the big flagship hospital’s breast care center this time) for a follow-up scan which revealed calcifications which may or may not be cancerous. Later this week I will have a biopsy.
Because I descend from a long line of folks who excel in worst-case scenarios, I’ve spent ten days contemplating my mortality. For years, it seemed as though my life and struggles would never end. There were periods where I could not fathom continuing with my burdens for another week, let alone another 40 or 50 years. I recall days where I would tell myself, “Just try to last through the next 30 minutes.” And after that half hour passed, I would tell myself to focus on making it through the next 30 minutes. In the worst times, this is how I survived Jack’s childhood and my littler boys’ babyhood.
Now, ironically, as life is sunnier and calmer, I am looking at my life and wondering what will happen.
We are making progress in helping our boys in all the areas in which they have needed help for so long. Because of the things we learned when Jack lived in our home, we have brought a bigger perspective and softer hearts to our new reality. The real change is that life seems short to me now, where before it seemed impossibly long.
During this last ten days, I have again asked myself if I am willing to accept God’s will for me and my family.
In my meditations, I have moved between fear and sadness, and peace because I do trust God. I have faith that whatever he gives me will be for my benefit. But, I’ve asked myself, what about my children? If they have to lose their mother at an early age, will he help them through it? Would they be able to overcome such a loss and its related effects? Would he help them with this added challenge, as well as with their disabilities?
I know I can do hard things with God’s help. But I worry for my children. I want to be here to help them through their trials, particularly while they are still little. This big question mark in my life may be the hardest exercise in trusting the Lord I’ve experienced to date. Do I trust him to actually help my boys if I am not here to fulfill the role of mother?
I have a new appreciation for nurturing and for the value of people who engage in it as their life’s central work.
I do not know what I will learn from my upcoming biopsy, but I have learned that trusting God is a process that continues to unfold for me. With each level of added understanding of his love and care for me, I find I then face new avenues which again try my trust.
I have to believe that these lessons are symbiotic. Each bit of yielding my heart to God and his plan offers a rung on which I can step, climbing to the next level of spiritual understanding.
The future is unclear.
I exercise faith.
God comes through for me and mine.
God propels me to a new plane of comprehension of his plan for me.
New trials arise.
I choose faith.
Jesus lifts me up, and on and on it goes, apparently.
There is a pattern, and while I am living it, I’m still learning it.