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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Kindness Guards the Entry

 ~ rear end of a goose ~
Tears, ever close, threaten to bruise my eyes and spill over the dam of lids to slide down my face and drip drip drip from my chin. Every person a has story: a past, present and a hope for the future. Some stories are held tightly, choking the dismal thoughts at bay. Other stories are close to the surface and sift through fingers wide open held close to the heart.

We're one-third of the way through chemo and a bit more with radiation. Every day we see some of the same folks and, always, new folks who clutch their blanket of hope as they wander the maze of the hospital system. Some people have friends or family to help guide them; others sit, alone, as they wait for someone to collect them for their next step or consult.

There's no privacy, none, meaning, there aren't any patient/staff rooms where one can go to hear what the next step will be, the next treatment, the bits of good news, the bad news tsunamis. It's impossible not to overhear - the clinical, sometimes dulcet, voices of the nurses or staff and the wistful hopeful prayerful pleadful tones of the patients. It's gut wrenching and I am in awe of the capability of the staff to both do their job and, generally, do it with compassion and tender care.

Why is it, do you suppose, the architects and other building planners, seemingly, have absolutely no concept of the needs of the people for whom the facility is, ultimately, designed? The waiting room and adjacent seating areas are one huge space...one huge loud noisy space where, even on the quietest of days, voices clammer to be heard...by each other and by staff. The din is amazing but, even so, overshadowed by the voices not heard. The voices of people who are withdrawn, consumed in their own thoughts while the white silence threatens to overshadow the actual noise, to bring noise to his knees. The white silence is deafening, a white blanket that is densely weighty and threatens to suffocate yet is not sufficient to prevent one from hearing the hope, always hope, lingering around and over the crowd, unseen but felt, sometimes warm and welcoming, other times shunted aside because it's become cold and foreign. Hope is an angel of tender mercies sent to comfort but sometimes hope isn't enough. Sometimes the news is so weighty a gut punch that one can hear the breath being sucked out of the body. I find myself holding my breath, tears gathering for someone I don't know, the only prayer being "Jesus, help" said over and over and over as a mantra until, bodies realize they need breath to sustain even the nightmares, breath sucks inward and the process begins anew.

So many of us can handle the bad news. It's then we muster ourselves, our prayers, our hopes, our family, our friends and begin the battle. The good news is even more easily handled, carried joyfully to the heart, sounds of exclamation of "thank God". There have been many kind people on this journey, as well as some not so kind people, but everyone is entitled to an off day. I'm finding out what  means a 'help meet'; taking the admonition "for better and worse" truly to heart, stepping up to the plate and...some days doing my absolute worst simply because I'm human and fall down on the job. But I'm here and will always be here and, surely, that counts against the times I fall down. There are too many stories of both men and women who walked away from the bad news, who "couldn't take it" and left. I cannot imagine. I can't imagine how one would sleep at night or face the day should one just walk away. I can't imagine not having the Holy Spirit to comfort, Christ to intercede or God to hear. I can't imagine trying...wry smile...to do any of this on my own. Why? What could possibly be the use?

It's hard, it's difficult and, even on a good day, there are still bad things happening. We soldier on, gallows humor and all, sharing a kind smile with others on the same journey, saying a prayer for those who are in evident, immediate need, squeezing in life and love and joy and laughter amongst the tears and, yes, even on those days when we feel like the rear end of a goose.

But, above all and always, allowing kindness to guard the entry to our heart.


Blessings ~ MCV ~ staff ~ volunteers ~ family ~ friends ~ prayers ~ ever present hope ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

24 comments:

  1. hang in there my friend. my thoughts and prayers are with you.
    you truely have such a kind heart. hope you have a peaceful day! God bless you.

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  2. Sandra, you are an amazing writer, and you have such an amazing attitude-th attitude of someone who truly knows the Lord. I have not walked in your shoes. Of course if one follows percentages and example, I or someone in my family will. When that happens, I hope I can endure it with the grace that you do. Praying for you.
    Deb

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  3. You sure captured the whole atmosphere. Keeping you and yours in my prayers.

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  4. My prayers continue for you and your husband and for the medical staff. Many of us have walked in your shoes and often when folks ask how do you do it, the only answer is "God." He gives strength and peace beyond what we know we are capable. Sending my love to you both.

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  5. My heart and prayers go up for you, your husband, patients, staff and families at the center. Your strength is a blessing to others. Stay strong my friend

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  6. Your story is becoming an amazing one to follow. I agree with you that bad news is easy to deal with. It is to rally to, to form an army, to deal with bad news.

    You have an army of friends and family behind you, and you'll get through this with more than you began.

    Blessings and prayers,
    Meg

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  7. I don't know how I could say it better than anyone else has already but you ARE an amazing writer. Be blessed and know that your family will remain in my prayers.

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  8. You captured the setting so well. I felt like I was *there*.
    The love you and Dave have for one another is the strong bond of a marriage based on Faith and Grace.
    Half-way done! How awesome is that!

    When I returned home a few days ago,I had the most wonderful card awaiting me with a beautiful picture inside of a couple I adore!
    It is now framed, sitting on our desk with all of our other family members images. Thank you!
    xo, misha

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  9. Your words were beautiful. Prayer is our only hope and all our prayers are with you.

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  10. You've expressed it so well. My prayers continue for you both.

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  11. When my son was a little boy before he was two we had to go to a surgeon who was in a office like you describe. I was pregnant with my sixth baby and as I would take my young son in there my heart would break for the pain all around me. I would sit and wait and so often the people ministered to me instead of the other way around. My son made friends and so many people would put their hands on my tummy just to feel the yet to be born baby move.
    When I read your posts I remember what it felt like. I am glad though you are half way through.I will rejoice when you are back in the mountains and the hills. Sometime it is so hard to remain in the valley.

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  12. I read your post with tears streaming down my face. I have kept you both in my prayers daily. Cancer is such a mean bastard. It puts us in places we wouldn't normally go, people don't know what to say to you. They are afraid of making you cry. They don't want to hear that there may be a poor prognosis. There is so much "unknown" out there. You live day by day. You two are the ones who spend time in treatments. Thank heavens you are there and giving your support. You need support too. I want to take time to apologize for the coldness often found in hospitals. I do see changes coming. There is a trend to a less sterile and more family oriented arrangement. As nurses we continously remind ourselves to touch, feel and even cry when necessary. I will continue to pray, comment and be here. May God bless you both and bring you good news. Much Love and Prayers.

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  13. Ah, Gloria, good soldier, good wife, good daughter of the King, my prayers are for you and for your dear husband. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I need to hear them so I can help bear your burden. I learn from them, too. I praise God for what he is doing in your life, too. I did not realize you were 1/3 of the way through. Praise God! He will be there for the next 2/3, also. He loves you and Dave so much. Have you ever tried to find the outer limits of God's love? Rhetorical question, of course. It can't be done. It operates in the monumental areas of our lives as well as in the minutia of tiny little things that we can't even know. He will safely keep you in his strong, loving embrace. --Linda

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  14. You have an amazing way with words. And what came to mind as I read your post is that God put her there because she has a huge heart and is thinking of others and someone will see/experience her faith in and love of Jesus and it will help and comfort them. I'm praying for you and Dave. You are so fortunate to share the love that you do.
    Blessings,
    Colleen

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  15. Ah, dear Sandra. This is so beautifully and honestly spoken. You are being a light in a very dark place, all the while having to deal with your own feelings. I pray for you often. I have sat in that room with my sister, and she handled it with such grace. But watching others was hard. And you are doing this day in and day out and away from home too. I pray tonight that you sense God's presence around you in a very special way.

    Praying in Chicago.

    Glenda

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  16. My apologies! In my earlier comment, I addressed you as Gloria. lol I knew that wasn't right. But my spacey, cold stuffed head couldn't think clearly, so I went with it. At supper, it popped into my head, what a doofus! Well, I may have had the wrong name, but I was thinking of YOU as I wrote my comment. Thankfully, the Lord knows who I'm praying for! sigh.
    --Linda

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  17. Wow.....I went right back to that room with you Sandra~
    I can honestly say that cancer is the great leveler and the journey we travel together in "too close" spaces somehow remind us that we are like a family in this journey...it was very uncomfortable I agree but i think if I had been alone in a room wih my thoughts and fears I may have been so overwhelmed...its so complicated....we soldier on...we have no choice thank God...some days I couldn't even pray~I could just "stand".
    You are in my prayers♥

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  18. Thinking of you today and saying a healing prayer.
    d

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  19. Your beautiful spirit shines thru in this post. I'm still sending prayers for you & your family.

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  20. Sandra, these words written from your heart take in the full spectrum of emotions. Your faith brings much strength and comfort to others. My prayers are with you and yours.

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  21. oh my. i never thought of the total lack of
    privacy. it must be overwhelming to hear
    others' heartbreak and share your own w/
    complete strangers.

    i have not forgotten your dave in my
    prayers and will step it up for you, too.

    to kindness,
    lea

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  22. Hi Sandra,

    Thank you for youir comments on my blog. They mean a lot to me.
    I wish you love, peace and healing in 2011

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  23. God Bless you and Dave. My heart is overwhelmed with your words. My friend just found out her DIL has cancer and she is so young. My granddaughters friend has cancer also. I stop right now and pray for you all and know Our Lord Savior is with you through all of this. I thank God for your strength and faith.

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  24. Your words really tugged at my heart and moved me greatly. You truly see things in a very deep and abiding way. Thank you for sharing your words. Even in times of sadness, they are full of peace, love and warmth.

    xoxo
    ~Lisa

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