Monday, October 4, 2010

Being Okay with God: Part I

I think a lot of us—if we’re willing to look over our shoulder—can admit that we’ve had a crisis in faith at some point in time. For me, I can pinpoint the moment when my faith was almost leveled.

In June of 2008, my family, through a trial of draining events, learned that my mother had ovarian cancer. Yes, it was the C word, the word every one of us has come to dread because every last one of us loves someone that this horrid disease has claimed.

I’ll never forget the way the news played out. The doctor thought my mother’s post surgery follow-up would be a grand event. In fact, he was so sure the news would carry a clean bill of health that we kids were convinced to stay home while just my father and mother went in for the results. My dad was so certain that he even waited in the car, reading a biography on the Founding Fathers, while my mother went into the doctor’s office for her appointment.

It was suppose to be no big deal.

So after waiting for several minutes, my dad had become engrossed in his book when he heard a rapt on the window. And there stood my mother, gray and trying to find the words.

“The doctor wants to see us both,” she choked out.

And before they knew it, they were sitting before an awestruck man, who nearly cried as he bore out the horrifying news. “I—I can’t believe this, but—I’m so sorry… but you have ovarian cancer.”

They say they remember staring and asking how it was possible and crying… and little of anything else. My mother and father explained the ride up the mountain home as a dreadful climb.

Meanwhile, my sister, husband, and I were out for lunch, an “early celebration” for my mother’s clean bill of health, I guess you could say. And we all know what happens when we count our chickens before they hatch…

My parents beat us home.

When we finally arrived on the door step, laughing and smiling and soaking in the perfect summer day, I remember looking at my mother. And I’ll never forget the exchange we had.

“Mom!” I called out. And she appeared. “Oh, look at you! You look beautiful and healthy, like I knew you would be. How’d it go?”

“That’s what we need to talk to you about.” And those were the words that sent my faith in God in a deadly plunge for the ground.

We all gathered in the kitchen. The heart of our home. And once there, all the horrible details came out. She had ovarian cancer. She’d need another surgery and perhaps chemotherapy or radiation.

I cried out instantly and begged for the cancer to be a mirage, a figment of my imagination... But it was real, and I was in freefall. My husband stood against me, propping me up in his grip… And my baby sister, my sweet baby sister, shrank away in silence. Large pools of tears flooded her blueberry eyes.

And just like that, loud rumbles of thunder rolled through the mountain air, and the sky darkened. One minute later, it was pouring.

It was like God was crying. He was crying for my mother. He was crying for all the suffering that plagues the Earth. And I knew one of those tears were for me.

He knew what I was doing. I was losing my faith as quickly as a tub drains lukewarm water from a bath. And the water was flooding out… all over the ground.

The moments that followed are as nebulous as the clouds in a midnight sky. I only remember sitting on the dark stairway listening to the voices and the violent rain, wishing like a devil that God wasn’t this cruel.


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