Friday, December 7, 2007

Do You Trust Me? Part 4

“Melody! Michelle! It’s time to leave!” my mom’s chipper voice rang throughout the house. “Come on, you know your dad doesn’t like it when we’re late to church!”
I took one final look in the mirror before I bounded down the stairs. Melody was right behind me.
“Did you eat breakfast?” my mom asked. “I made those muffins you like yesterday, and there are still some left.”
“I already got one,” I said. My voice was monotone.
“Are you okay this morning, sweetie?” my mom asked. She smiled. “It’s beautiful outside.”
How can she be so happy? Doesn’t she know she’s dying? Doesn’t she know that she’s going to leave me to grow up without a mom?
Every day wasn’t always like this. Sometimes, I could go throughout my day as normal and only think about my mom’s cancer when I prayed for her. Other days were harder. Church days seemed the hardest. Everyone at church wanted to hug me, to tell me that everything was going to be fine, and to tell me that they were praying for me and that God was in control of this situation.
Sure, God’s in control. That’s easy for them to say.
We got into the car, and my mom started sharing with us what her Sunday School lesson was over. When she finished, she simply said, “Isn’t God amazing? I mean, no matter what I’m going through, the lesson always seems to be exactly what I need to hear.”
How does she have that much faith? I just didn’t get it. She had been to the same funerals that I had. She knew what this disease was capable of.
At church, I tried to avoid the right people – pretty much everyone forty and older, my family’s closest friends, and all of the church staff. My friends knew I didn’t like to talk about it, and they were pretty good distractions.
I was leaving the sanctuary when I heard a little voice behind me. “Hey Chelle!” I turned around to see Taylor Few, the seven-year-old grandson of Mrs. Carol, bounding down the stairs of the balcony. Taylor ran up and hugged me. “We’ve been praying for your family at dinner,” he told me. He looked proud of himself.
“Thanks, Tay,” I said. “We’re still keeping your family in our prayers too. How is everyone?”
“Papaw gets pretty sad sometimes. And I do too. But then I just think about how much fun she has to be having in heaven, you know?” Taylor was swinging on the railing of the stairs leading to the balcony. “She wasn’t having fun down here anymore, but I bet she’s happy now.”
I wanted his innocence. I wished I had faith like his. I just knew too many facts. I didn’t know how to reply to Taylor, so I was relieved when he opened his mouth again. “Do you think she’s watching me all the time?”
I laughed a little to prevent myself from crying. “I bet she is. And I think right now, she would probably want you to stop swinging on the railing so you don’t fall and hurt yourself.”
He smiled at me and placed both feet on the ground. “I bet you’re right.” He looked up and said, “Sorry, Nana.” With that, he took off running to his parents on the other side of the room. I saw Todd and Cindy start to walk towards me, so I waved at them and then walked out the door before they could get too close to start a conversation.
As soon as I walked out the door, I was greeted by two ladies I didn’t know. This wasn’t unusual. In a church the size of mine, it was easy for people to know me since my dad was on staff while I had no clue who they were. I tried to smile and walk on politely, but one of them grabbed me by the arm.
“You know, your mother is amazing,” she said. “Absolutely amazing,”
Just what I want to hear.
I smiled, weakly. “Thanks. I think so,” I said.
“She just has this joy in her that is so contagious. I feel better just being around her,” she went on.
The woman next to her nodded in agreement. “I know. I just think about how I would react if I had cancer. I would be bitter, angry, confused, and hurt. Your mom is just so poised and so positive. It’s really inspiring.”
Hmm. Bitter. Angry. Confused. Hurt. That sounds about right. That sounds pretty normal.
“Just tell her that we love her,” the first woman added. “And we’re praying for a speedy recovery.”
I thanked them for their kind words, and quickly ducked into my dad’s office. Safe at last.
My dad was sitting at his desk, shuffling some music around. “Hi, kiddo,” he greeted me when he looked up.
”Hey,” I said, slumping into one of the meeting chairs.
“How was your Sunday School class this morning?” he asked, putting down the papers he was looking over.
I shrugged. “Pretty good, I guess. We prayed for Mom.”
“Prayer is always a good thing,” my dad said. “You can never have too much of it. In fact, its times like these that can really bring us to our knees. I’ve prayed more for our family over the past few weeks than I have in my life. I’m just sad that it took your mom getting sick for me to start praying like I should have been all along.
Great. Not him too! Didn’t anyone understand why I was so scared?
My dad noticed my silence and said, “You’re not mad at God for this, are you?”
That was all I needed. “Of course I’m mad!” I admitted, folding my arms across my chest. “Why aren’t you?”
“I don’t see how being mad about this is going to help your mom get any better,” my dad said, reasonably. “The doctors think her cancer is going to be completely curable with just one surgery, and she has some of the best doctors in the country. She gets tired pretty easy, but all in all, your mom feels pretty normal. Considering the circumstances, we’re pretty blessed,” he said, coming over to sit in the chair next to me.
He was right. I knew he was right. He was always right. If it didn’t come in handy so often, I would be annoyed at how right he was.
“Why don’t you just try to be positive with us, okay?” he suggested. “Did you know that there’s actually been research done that shows having a positive mental attitude throughout cancer has a better survival rate?”
I perked up. “Really?”
“Really,” my dad smiled at me, revealing the one dimple on his right cheek. “Come on, complete me,” he said.
I laughed. I have one dimple on my left cheek, so I’ve always told my dad that my smile completes his.
“Atta girl,” he said. “Let’s get home and make some lunch for Mom and Melody. What do you think?”
I hugged my dad, and we headed for the door. I walked out of church feeling better than I had in a while.

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Esther 4:14b

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"