This afternoon, I finished the first book on my nephew’s summer reading list for homeschool. A Gathering of Days, by Joan W. Blos, is a journal following a young girl’s life in New England for 17 months. I realized that it was about 17 months ago, that doctors discovered a lime-sized tumor in my brain. One line from the book reads: “And that is what life is all about—changes going on every minute, and you never know when something begins where it’s going to take you.” The book proceeds to follow this young, courageous Catherine through changes in her world—the remarriage of her Father, death of her best friend, and move away from her familiar New Hampshire home.
The past 17 months have brought significant changes in my world as well. Throughout my journey, I’ve gained new friends, and reconnected with old ones. I have lost too. I lost my grandfather. I lost newly made friends to cancer. I’ve read new books, taught at conferences, prayed at meetings. I lost my hair. I received dozens of hats. I received life-saving medicine daily. My veins were poked with needles almost daily.
I’ve had some of the greatest pain and the greatest joy of my life. I had one 8-hour surgery, 40 days of radiation, 105 days of chemotherapy. I received hundreds of cards and gifts. I made up my mind to be a better friend. I sent 133 birthday cards. I moved. I adopted a cat. I became a homeschool teacher. And, with Christ, I beat cancer. I gave God the glory. “…and you never know when something begins where it’s going to take you.” And yet, I still do not know where this journey will take me.
But right now, I’m just grateful to still be on the journey. Looking back, I can start to see the blessings that the journey has brought: The abundant kindness and generosity of family, friends and strangers; the love of parents whose lives were radically derailed to care for me; the love of the 11-year-old boy who would not leave my bedside for a week after my surgery; the brother and sister-in-law who managed my medication and opened their home to me; the pro-life leader who raised tens of thousands of dollars for my medical care; the encouraging nuero-surgeon who still hugs me every visit; the love and care of former professors; the prayers of thousands; the words from God spoken directly to me; the hope that comes only from trusting in Christ. Again, I don’t know where this will ultimately take me. And nothing in this post is particularly profound. I’m just embracing the change, the good and the bad, knowing that something even better will come. After all, that is life, isn’t it?