Sixteen years ago I was in the shower rinsing the soap when I found the thing that would change and shape every subsequent moment of my life, a little round marble of death that hadn't been there six weeks before and that was already spreading itself through out my body.
Fifteen years ago, I walked out the cancer center doors after my final round of Chemotherapy. It was Valentines Day, and I was pregnant. I wouldn't realize I was pregnant for three more months.
Fourteen years ago I labored to the point of exhaustion until my oh-so-patient doctor, the only one I had who hadn't urged me from the beginning to kill this baby, intervened and cut my child, my miracle, from my body, a precious, wide-eyed gift of life, a living, breathing piece of my heart existing outside my actual self.
Thirteen years ago, I went into labor the night of my scheduled C-section and bullied the nurse for drugs that would stop the labor until my doctor could arrive. My second miracle, with eyes bluer than imagining, and I, now with two miracles under the age of one, had no idea what life held in store.
Twelve years ago, four years later than the very day my surgeon probed deep into my armpit and spoke the words of how my own body betrayed me, I celebrated life with still more life. My youngest daughter was born with a cloud of red hair and chubby rolls from head to toe. A sweet, pink wonder that to this day takes my breath with her wit and beauty.
This morning I bid farewell to another friend whose life was also changed irrevocably by the same kind of demon that once stalked me. Since I have known Dana, she has eluded death's grasp, but today she went the way we all are going, just much sooner than I would have chosen.
I have spoken with my Abba many times about why I have been given such an abundance of life when all around me people who are no different than I do not receive the same gift. Friends, best friends, grandparents, my own father all have walked my road for a time and then run ahead to the place I too must one day go, and I have shaken my fists and asked the question that really has no answer
Why do I get to be the recipient of all this grace, of all this life that dances and twinkles and sings and tears and breaks and suffocates sometimes all in the same moment. Why have I not suffered more, not sickened more, not withered and anguished not been afraid every moment that my own cells were killing me? Why...
It's a question for which there is no answer. There is nothing in me that deserves more, is more important, more worthy of life than of any who have gone before. At best, I have gained only an eye blink beyond what they also received. I live because He who is greater than me deems it so for one more second, minute, day, month, deacade....who knows? I surely do not, and for that I am grateful.
This sweet, sweet too short life...No doubt I will come to the close one day and wish for one more moment still to hold the hand of my Hunky, my heart, to kiss the face of my children, to laugh one more time with a friend. We cling so tightly and shake our fists at heartache and rail against the hurt and curse the One who brings the pain.
But this I know, and this I hope to remember when He at last leads me home. Pain is certain, what's more fragile and less often questioned is life itself, the next breath I draw, the first moment I awake, each time I and those I hold so dear arrive safely home again. Each smile, each meal, each moment...it's all grace.
Why me? I do not ask because to know would be to have the mind of God, and that I do not desire.
Instead I say, Thank you, Abba. For every grace, every breath, every tear, every loss, every second of every moment that I was aware of being alive. I thank you for this incredible, glorious life.