Monday, December 22, 2008

Cardboard Shapes and Fake Hair… Ready or Not, Here They Come

When you’re in something, it’s tougher to actually be aware of what’s going on. You can’t see the forest for the trees and all that (it actually can be a blessing in disguise if you think about it)… Maybe that’s why when someone said to me, “your family has been so affected by cancer,” the other day, it took me a little by surprise. (Thanks, by the way, for the announcement.) It’s not like I don’t realize the bouts my family has had with cancer are serious or real, but maybe it’s because it’s always kind of been ongoing with my grandparents (especially my grandma) that I’m just used to it. Also, because I’m away at school for the majority of the time probably makes it easier for me to put it out of my head, where I’m not constantly faced with it. My grandma is losing her hair and is getting weaker from the chemotherapy. I see it now that I’ve been home for Christmas break, and it’s only been a little over a week so far. I hear about it on the phone, but it’s still not the same. When I hang up, I don’t have to turn around and deal with it immediately.

Yesterday I helped my grandma comb her wig and fit it on her head with a hat she had to resolve herself to wearing by telling herself lots of other women have to do the same thing. She didn’t like the hat. She hates the wig. She would never say it like that, but I can tell. She wants her own hair… but she wants her life more. I’m really glad she always wants to live. (I actually think the hat looked great on her, and I told her that.) Chemotherapy is not easy, and it’s not the first time my grandma has gone through it. She has had so much cancer in her body, she is literally a walking miracle. She has some awesome stories about how God has saved her from her illnesses. I love listening to her and observing her trust in Jesus.

A few years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long) I was helping my grandpa match shapes with a “matching shapes puzzle” because he had been so affected by the radiation for his brain tumor, he was even having trouble identifying shapes. When I hear anything similar to the phrase “matching shapes puzzle” (and it’s more often than you think considering JB and all my friends who have kids) I think of grandpa struggling to fit a square cardboard cutout into a wooden board. I’m willing to bet that’s probably not your average word association.

Cancer is rough and is causing changes I don’t know if I’m ready for. Our family has already gone through a lot of unexpected change recently, but really, I know there is much more to come.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"The dream is ended: this is the morning."

Yesterday I was thinking about some of my favorite passages of literature. Today I was talking about heaven with a friend as we ran on the beach, taking in the gorgeous view. I think that's why I'm posting this blog. It's not often that I think about heaven, which is a shame, because heaven is going to be great. My mom said to me once, "I think heaven is going to be like waking up from a sad dream." I've always loved the depiction of what heaven will be like in The Last Battle, the last in The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.

So all of them passed in through the golden gates, into the delicious smell that blew towards them out of that garden and into the cool mixture of sunlight and shadow under the trees, walking on springy turf that was all dotted with white flowers. The very first thing which struck everyone was that the place was far larger than it had seemed from outside. But no one had time to think about that for people were coming up to meet the newcomers from every direction.
Everyone you had ever heard of (if you knew the history of these countries) seemed to be there. [...] And there was greeting and kissing and handshaking and old jokes revived, (you've no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years) and the whole company moved forward to the centre of the orchard where the Phoenix sat in a tree and looked down upon them all, and at the foot of that tree were two thrones and in those two thrones a King and Queen so great and beautiful that everyone bowed down before them. [...]
About half an hour later - or it might have been half a hundred years later, for time there is not like time here - Lucy stood with her dear friend, her oldest Narnian friend, the Faun Tumnus, looking down over the wall of that garden, and seeing all Narnia spread out below. [...]
"I see," she said at last, thoughtfully. "I see now. This garden is like the Stable. It is far bigger inside than it was outside."
"Of course, Daughter of Eve," said the Faun. "The further up and the further in you go, the bigger everything gets. The inside is larger than the outside."
Lucy looked hard at the garden and saw that it was not really a garden at all, but a whole world, with its own rivers and woods and sea and mountains. But they were not strange: she knew them all.
"I see," she said. "This is still Narnia, and more real and more beautiful than the Narnia down below, just as it was more real and more beautiful than the Narnia outside the Stable door! I see... world within world, Narnia within Narnia..."
"Yes," said Mr. Tumnus, "like an onion: except that as you go in and in, each circle is larger than the last." [...]
Suddenly they shifted their eyes to another spot, and then Peter and Edmund and Lucy gasped with amazement and shouted out and began waving: for there they saw their own father and mother, waving back at them from across the great, deep valley. It was like when you see people waving at you from the deck of a big ship when you are waiting on the quay to meet them.[...]
And soon they found themselves all walking together - and a great, bright procession it was - up towards mountains higher than you could see in this world even if they were there to be seen. But there was no snow on those mountains: there were forests an green slopes and sweet orchards and flashing waterfalls, one above the other, going up for ever. [...]
Then Aslan turned to them and said: "You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be."
Lucy said, "We're so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often."
"No fear of that," said Aslan. "Have you not guessed?"
Their hearts leapt, and a wild hope rose within them.
"There was a real railway accident," said Aslan softly. "Your father and mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadowlands - dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."