Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From Ashes to Beauty

This winter our pastor began a sermon series on the book of Ruth. I faced it with mixed emotions; it was the book God had used to help me through the time of my son's death. "Lord," I said, "I don't really want to go back."

But go back I must and I'm not quite sure why He wants me to remember again my journey toward wholeness. I only know that it would be for me a step of obedience.

I start in the first chapter of Ruth and as I read marvel anew at the many times the phrase,"go back", whispers across the page to confirm His Word. Like Naomi I need to go back.

God had been faithful during our son's first battle with testicular cancer. After two surgeries and six months of chemotherapy the prognosis had been positive. "If it doesn't come back in six months he has a fifty-fifty chance it will never recur. After five years he'll be considered cured."

Twelve years later I stood beside my son in the emergency room. He clutched a basin in his hands and his knuckles were white against the white sheet. His dark blue eyes fringed in those long dark lashes we all loved so much, looked bigger then ever.

His voice was hoarse. "They took pictures, Mom. The doctors think the cancer's growing again. Only this time, this time--it's probably in the liver."

The cloud of concern which had shadowed me for several months as my son had complained of frequent back problems darkened, became ominous. I didn't know what to say, except, "We love you, son. Never forget, we're praying...."

Later that afternoon I went to work at the church where I was secretary. The sun crept close to the horizon by the time I took the recycle bin across the street. I set the container on the curb, then turned. I heard the screech of tires. I looked up. A city bus loomed above me. I could have reached out and touched the hard cold metal.

For one wild moment I wished that bus hadn't stopped. Lord, I don't want to go through what's ahead.. The chemo-again-the nausea-again, the waiting after each blood draw. Will the cancer count be the same, or down, or will it be on the rise?

I caught the bus driver's eye, spread my arms in a gesture of apology and stepped back. I could imagine his thoughts. Crazy woman. Why don't you watch where you're going? Why, I could have run you down.

I stood on the side of the road, stunned at what had almost happened. I gazed up at the faces of the passengers peering down at me from the windows, then turned away. Fear of the future pierced my soul. My pain was fresh, eating a hole in my heart.

Even as I wrote these words, I relived the bitterness I felt in my soul that day.  But time has since gentled the agony and where there had been only pain, there is now a sweetness. Is it the presence of my Lord?

The honey of God's Word drops gently into my soul and becomes my song:

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
you who have done great things.
Who, O God, is like you?
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter, you will restore my life again;
Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds
Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory,
Amen and Amen

(Psalm 71:20-21; 72:18-19)


Looking to the Stars said...

It is always enjoyable to read when you share. I feel your pain, going back to a painful point in life is hard but something new always blooms. It did not occur to me that the book of Ruth repeated that pharse. I should re-read it :)

take care

Nina P. said...

Oh such a story that as human beings we feel no one should have to live through. But God gives us each a journey to travel. We know not how long or short or how many twists or turns, or even how many storms we will go through... but one thing we know for sure is that beyond even the darkest time's is God's Light shinning for each of us to follow... Even above the darkest clouds, the hardest storms... it is there... He, is there...
As God's Holy Spirit enters into us we no longer carry the same fears... As Jesus has taught us and brought us to God's door... the door of eternal Life....
The book of Ruth is one I too cherish dear, as it carries so many lessons and Blessings.

The day of my grandmother's funeral was a cold, snowy, yet sunshiny day... the adults were grieving as we do... and my little cousin looks outside at the Glory of God and says out loud... What a beautiful day for Grandma to start her New Life in Heaven... out of the mouths of babes...
Blessings to you and yours... and thank you for sharing your story and the gift of sharing a bit of your own son with us.
Love and Light, Nina P

A Dancing Mango said...

Omgsh' Eva,
The story you wrote also brings me back to a time when a mantra of emotions flooded my soul, piercing my heart and pain escalating. I asked God.. why take Daddy now.. please let him stay? He is only 67yr old?
Four yrs. later, laying in my bed sobbing.. God please don't take my big brother away either. I NEED him, please heal him and let him stay with us just for a bit longer.
Yes, it has been yrs, but the pain is still here as I write this. (even though I thought it was gone or not felt as hard).
God gave me his grace, and carried me past and beyond the hurt, and fears of loss.
I now carry my love for them deep within me everyday. In my paintings. Yes, some say they see 'sadness' within the eyes of my paintings?.. Perhaps it is the loss, but hopefully when they look at the lips they will see a gentle smile..
I am so sorry of your pain and I share in it tonight with you.
Hugs, Darlene ♥

uptoyoutodaytoo said...

Hi, Eva, I am a good friend of your daughter, Beth; she is a wonder.

I like your writing. I am sorry you have had to go through such sorrows. Sorrow is and it is not for us to say God is wrong in allowing it...(Oswald Chambers) I think of those words when I am having a day where loss is closer than I want it to be. I will be reading more of what you think about. The pictures are great!

Ridem said...

Hi Eva,

I too am a friend of Beth's, but also of Dow. After many years, I was blessed with the fortune of coming across some of my dear high school friends, which Beth was one of.

Like uptoyoutodaytoo said, Beth is a wonder, but she's also an inspiration, and supporting friend. After seeing your blog, and reading your words, I can see that the apple has not fallen far from the tree. :)

Upon reuniting with Beth again, she told me of Dow, and it was hard to hear, as well as to write here, as I remember his laugh, tall lanky body, and how he smiled all the time. I don't know why, but God had to have a purpose for bringing him to Heaven at such a young age.

But, I also can feel, and to a small degree, understand your pain. My daughters were taken from me, not through death, but through games that their mom played with thier minds. And, probably like you, nothing can take them from my daily thoughts, or sooth the pain from missing them.

I have a feeling, that your well written words are a comfort to many, as well as an inspiration too. And, I look forward to reading more!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings in this post.

God Bless,

Patty said...

Thanks for sharing this terribly sad time of your life.

Lucy said...

I wish I had your faith. I have faith that my mothers strong faith carried over. I am the only one lefdt out of a family of 10 and I lost my son at thge age of 42. great heartfelt is all I can say.

Eva Gibson said...

My heart is deeply touched by your precious comments. It helps so to know that others have walked where you have walked and that they understand. Each one of you has encouraged me so very much. I felt loved and cared for when I read all your comments.

You are loved and I thank God for each one of you and willingness to share your thoughts and heart. Love, Eva

Beth Niquette said...

Oh, Mumsie--I read this and my heart is broken. ((hugs)) You are an amazing, wonderful lady. I love you SO much.