There is a word that brings neighbors running across yards
in their leopard-print fuzzy robe.
My neighbor called and said the word.
"Missy, I have cancer."
I told her to come over now, while kids in pajamas still peek between railings wondering about bed. Just come now.
Paul handled the kids, and as I watched her cross our yards under the light on my front porch, I prayed so many things. I prayed for many more years of scampering across yards in fluffy robes for tea. I prayed for this beautiful woman to see a world past her forties. But mostly, I prayed for the right now, for the words between us, and that He would sit with us in this mess...
And He did.
While telling me about her biopsies, her upcoming double mastectomy, the chemo, the dreams now on hold, I see something flickering across her face, lighting up beneath the days of lost sleep...
I see peace.
I hear her say, "I feel gratitude. That I know God."
In cancer. In lost dreams. In the month of hell that lies before her, that is coming too fast in all of the rushing to save her life, in all the procedures and surgeries...
She feels gratitude.
It's what I have been looking for for 2 years now.
I've been looking for the people who don't break deals.
When I found Jesus, I had some "deal-breakers" for Him. I let Him know that if they happened, all bets were off.
Don't let anything bad happen to my kids.
Don't let anything bad happen to my husband.
Protect my family.
Give me ____.
I was afraid of "The Worst Thing That Can Happen".
And here, in my living room, was someone facing that very thing, in a poise of peaceful gratitude.
He keeps sending me these people, carrying the "worst thing"
with grace and without fear.
And she says to me, with a bruise the size of Texas on her breast from this week's biopsies, and with those giant tumors lying right next to her heart, eating away at her body...
"The worst thing that can happen is to not know God."
We hold hands, we pray; we are in fellowship with our God as He sits with us in our robes. It's palpable. He walks with the afflicted. He's with her.
She knows it, and I feel it.
His promises give her life. Unconditionally, without question, and with 100% chance, she has life eternal, and she rests in His promises alone.
I watch her run back to her house under the light of the half-moon...the same house that she and her husband have spent the last year fixing up with loving hands, so that they might share that home with foster children...
I watch as she reaches her porch and turns to wave,
cold air framing each exhaled breath that escapes from my often
ungrateful and frequently complaining mouth...
And there is gratitude for each and every one.
Thank you Lord, for today's breath.
Let me not ask you about tomorrow's.
Let me rest in your promises.
Let me accept your life.
Father, please bless my neighbor with
what she has given to me tonight.
"Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him..."