The Herald Enquirer, February 2015
As we taxied toward the runway, I gazed out across the frozen water. My heart welled up with emotion. Was this the last time that I would see my sister, or will she be here for my next scheduled trip, the end of March? If so, what condition will she be in? My heart aches to protect her, to heal her, to remove her pain. Even just for one day; where she could smile, be awake and aware, and be pain free.
I hear it often said that you need acceptance when faced with the death of a loved one. I find that I need more than acceptance to deal with the suffering they face when alive. Cancer. Evil’s tool. It destroys the body, the mind and so frequently, the will. Even if the will remains, it is often weakened by the battle in the body, as it is with my sister.
Hovering over the clouds I am struck by the brightness and peace. This is God’s beauty. Then I ponder: if God is in control how can He allow such suffering? I am then reminded that it is not for me to question, but to just accept. Yet acceptance can be so hard. So difficult without understanding. I can accept the planes ability to fly because I understand the dynamics of aeronautics. I can accept the way a ship can float without sinking because I understand that ships are designed to displace the amount of water equivalent to their own mass keeping them buoyant. But to accept the suffering and pain of a loved one even when I don’t understand why they are being attacked this way? To accept why some are so blessed with remission or have their conditions cured, while others are tortured until the final end? I find it hard, but of course I try. I try… I pray… I cry.
While I was struggling with this concept, I realized that accepting God’s will is just that. Accepting doesn’t mean the pain and hurt I feel will go away in an instant. I thought when my pain and hurt over a situation was gone, that was when I was in the realm of acceptance. No. I was disillusioning myself. I was living in a false sense of timing. This revelation made me look back on my life and examine the times when I was aching and hurt.
What I found was that it was quite the opposite. When a situation – the death of my parents or my divorce – first happened, it wounded me and the discomfort was tremendous. It felt unsurmountable, as would be expected. Yet, as the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, the effects of the trauma began to subside. It started to ease. This was due to my beginning to accept the situation for what it was: Life. The more I accepted; the more the agony subsided. So, I now come to the conclusion that the healing did not bring acceptance but quite contraire, my acceptance brought healing. Please don’t get me wrong, when I finally accepted death and divorce, the pain didn’t miraculously disappear. Through my acceptance I found peace with God, who was then able to open my heart and mend me. Heal me. Hold my soul till it stopped crying.
I cried a lot this past visit. For my sister I mourned the life she is not living, only existing. I cried for her devoted husband who is taking superb care of her and has been so strong over the past year and a half. I also cried tears of forgiveness for myself for the guilt I have been carrying. Guilt over living so far away from her. Guilt over the fact that I am healthy and have a gratifying life. Guilt over the many second and third chances God has provided me with during my past 55 years. Next week I turn 56. I have a beautiful home and farm. I enjoy my career and have been able to meet and work with so many great people. I have a host of friends who love me and support all my endeavors. I am in fine fettle and active. I am intelligent and able. There are times I actually feel guilty for all these blessings as I reflect on her condition and the possible outcome.
This past visit I realized guilt was robbing me of peace and freedom. As we shared time together, me talking and her hand writing since she lost the ability to talk, she was not sad or envious over the path’s our lives have taken. Though she asked why this was happening to her, she was accepting of it. She didn’t want me to feel guilty. She wants me to live. For me, and for her. I started to find my own acceptance. Yes, I am finally beginning to accept her cancer and my health. Where I have been feeling like I was in the bottom of a pit, I now see there is a staircase going up. The hand railing is an extension of God’s loving arm. Rather than shutting myself off to others in fear of more pain, I will work hard to keep my heart open. Even just ever so slightly. All that is needed is a drop of willingness for God to work. No, I don’t expect instant healing. I actually anticipate more hurt and discomfort, but I also know there will be healing.
There is a Light – as bright as the winter sun above the clouds. And one day she will feel the Healing Light. Her pain and suffering will be gone, and once again her baby blue eyes will smile.