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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.

Friday, February 04, 2011

TGIF...finally!

 ~ happy family ~
Mary Q., the talented photographer who took this photograph, had it enlarged and gave it to us as a Christmas gift. Dave and I opened the box Christmas morning...it seems someone else's lifetime ago... and immediately took down one of the apartment paintings so this could be hung. It reminds us our situation is temporary and we'll, hopefully, soon return to our beloved farm and, albeit a new normal, way of life.

Do you like that term..."new normal"? Linda said it to me first and then I read it in some informative literature dealing with cancer. It seems each day, some times each moment, has been a new normal for us while all I want is the old normal back. This week has been horrible and, yes, that's why you've not heard from me. A new doc dealt some stunning blows, some hard news, a "new normal" and it's taken me, at least, a while to be able to slowly stand on wobbly legs and wonder, what next? I cannot imagine how Dave felt, hearing his precious life being so cavalierly negated. This new, young buck doctor who was dismissive in his assessment of not seeing this year out or if you do, you'll see it from the view of being in a wheelchair. This new, young buck doctor, with his vantage point of health and youth, not considering, apparently, that compassion and kindness would temper his words; not considering, apparently, that words have power, powerful power, and can make or take life. Or, at the very least, hope. Then, the very next day, that terrible, horrible, wretched news was tempered with grace. Another doctor, our radiology oncologist, giving us the same news she's always given us but tempered with compassion, kindness and grace.

Ahhhhhh, grace. What an absolutely underrated, beloved word that gives, just enough, breathing room; room to suck in some air and think, just possibly... another breath, another day, another week, another month, another year.

Just possibly another.


That's all any of us truly have - the possibility of another but there's something about cancer, indeed, any horrible illness, that forces us to deal with the immediacy of possible. To look eternity in the eye and consider what if. What if we die today? What if the cancer grows at an alarming rate? What if we get hit by a bus? What if we don't choose Jesus?

What if?

We've had to add another week onto our stay; we can't go home this week and, frankly, if we can't go home in another week, I don't know if I can stand it. I'm already so heart sick, so soul sick at being away from the farm. Yes, we're doing what needs to be done and have, thus far, done it cheerfully and willingly but I have reached the end of my tolerance and am left empty and wanting. There's an incredibly empty space at my center that needs filling and only God can fill it but I'm so empty I can hardly breath much less ask. Asking is so totally overwhelming right now and has been all this week. Even breathing is an imposition on my overloaded body.

My word for this year was "breath"; little did I know how appropriate it would be for my life. My thoughts are still until they aren't and I realize I need to take a breath, to replenish my lungs and blood with life giving oxygen. To breath. To pick up and carry on with laundry, meals, hospitals, doctors, medicines, support; the dailiness of life.

I never knew, until this week, how much sheer energy emotions can suck out of a body. How totally deplenished one can be simply by hearing bad news. How much sleep is needed, nay demanded, by the body so it can merely catch up, much less recover. How much can a body take before recovery isn't possible? I pray to God I never find out.

There are some things I've found out that I think I always knew but wanted to keep locked up in a cupboard where darkness never sees the light of day. Mom has always said if a person could count their true friends on one hand, that person lived a successful life. Mom and life have taught me, friendship is a precious gift albeit a rare gift. In this "journey" with cancer, Dave and I have both found out there are lots of people who call themselves friends but whom we've not heard from, much less seen. There are people who have called me their "new best friend" and said, apparently convicting themselves, "love you". Perhaps they do mean it but it's beyond my understanding. As soon as some most heard the word "cancer", they are seldom seen. Do they think cancer is contagious? Do they think if they are in the vicinity, the "cancer gods" will notice them and BOOM! they'll get cancer? Do they think?

Hard times give us the opportunity to be large but too many are small, so know this: if you have prayed for us, bless you. If you've sent a note, bless you. If you've thought kind thoughts, bless you. Because whether we want to believe it or not; whether we understand it, or not...we are all in this thing called life together. And, if we call ourselves a Christian, we will be held accountable for our actions or lack thereof. Every major religion of the world has some sort of "what goes 'round, comes 'round" belief. Some call it karma while the Bible says, "cast your bread upon the water and it will return to you." If we cast moldy bread, guess what we'll get in return. If we cast good bread, we'll receive good bread. What we do, or don't do, matters; what we say, or don't say, matters. Indeed, it could be argued that's all that matters: what we do or say or don't do or say. The rest will be left behind when we die; all else will be eaten by moths, decayed by rust. 

For my abject weariness and exhaustion, I apologize. When I've said or done something that has hurt your feelings, I apologize. It is never my intent to, deliberately, hurt your feelings but sometimes I let my mouth run off without my brain. Truly, I apologize. Right now, it's all I can do to put one foot in front of the other, to get the laundry done, the meals fixed, the dishes washed. It's just about all I can do to breath and some days I don't do that so well either. Add to all that, yet another week of staying in Richmond so we can see more doctors for problems that have cropped up due to cancer complications. Add to that, more visits in thirty, sixty, ninety days and on into the immediate future. We're doing what we need to do and I'm trusting God even though I feel like a big, dumb ox standing in the field. The only thing I have left is my faith and I hang onto that with a tenacity that surprises me.

As Julian of Norwich said, "...but all will be well, and all will be well and every kind of thing will be well."

Blessings ~ kind, compassionate, gracious doctors ~ faith ~ hope ~ prayer ~ all will be well ~

Soli Deo Gloria,
Sandra

40 comments:

  1. It's such a lovely picture! Blessing and Comfort and Peace be with you...

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  2. I think our moms went to the same school; she taught me the same lesson on 'friends'. I've found it to be true. I've also found that,while it's very easy to love someone in words, we don't always do it in deeds, and that's where it counts. I'd hate to know that the 'love' people so easily throw around was the deepest and strongest love I'll ever get. The kind of love Christ talks about is not easily gotten or given, and that's why it knocks our socks off when we realize someone really and truly loves us and will not stop loving us based on our health, wealth, looks, position or behavior. It is also the kind of love that is rare nowadays.
    Thanks for pouring your heart out. I can see why the picture is so precious to you.

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  3. I am so sorry for all this pain. Just so very sorry. Praying for you and Dave. Asking God for strength, peace and for you all to go back home quickly.

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  4. no body ever wants to go through what you are going through but especially when you are far from home. you are both in my thoughts and prayers. i also pray you home soon. God bless you both.

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  5. I hear you.
    No apologies.
    We are all praying for you both~
    ♥ Eileen

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  6. Sandra~
    LOVE that photo! This is one you will cherish always ~ all that it represents!

    Oh, I am so very sorry about your sad news and even more sad about the unfeeling discourse by the doctor.Shame on him!

    I do so wish I could help you in a more physical and practical way, but I do pray ~I am praying for you both, my friend, but that the Father's Will be done in your lives!
    I think you are sooo strong ~ as I read all that you relate I can't help think what would I do if I were in that situation ~ why you and not me, instead? I know the answer, of course. Because you are able to handle it (though it makes you weary). God doesn't give us more than we can bear ~ He knows where your strength comes from.

    Ezekiel 37:5&6 says,"This saith the Lord GOD unto these dry bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD."
    Keep breathing, my friend, and know that He is God and He gives you the strength that you(we all) need daily if only we call upon His name, and He will be with you to the end. And He sends the Comforter to be with you. Lean on Him and not on your own understanding. He loves you and cares for you ~ it was for your tears He died.
    I am praying ~ all will be well!

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  7. What a beautiful photo! I like that it was done outside with the mountain background and the pups on your lap in that beautiful twig chair. A beautiful photo of a beautiful couple!

    Thank you for sharing your heart today. What is friendship if these things cannot be shared --very shallow, indeed. And apology? There is no need between thee and me, but if there were, you would have my forgiveness right now. It is freeing, though, to apologize, isn't it; especially in the face of having been treated so unprofessionally by the 'young buck.' Keep in mind that his time is coming when life will teach him the value of compassion.

    In the meantime,know that when you cannot take one step further, one thought further, one moment further, Jesus will take it for you. He knows all of our sorrows. This I know.

    You are in my prayers and my thoughts still.
    Linda H

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  8. Dear Sandra! If you have faith you have everything!!!
    I am so sorry what you are going through right now and I pray for you!

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  9. Dear Sandra,

    My heart goes out to you both and my prayers are with you. I've faced my own dark days and had many times of despair. My faith carried me through and I learned how important God's presence in my life was and is. I wish I could offer you more comfort. If you ever need someone to listen who has walked through that valley, I'd be honored.

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  10. Julia of Norwich always reminds me of my college roommate; she had to do a paper on her freshman year.

    "New normal" is how we're defining our lives too, but how fortunate we were that it was "just" glaucoma and Sissy's (dog) eye...

    Prayers and best wishes that you are indeed home very soon.

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  11. Oh, Dear, dear Sandra. You owe no one an apology.
    I don't think you know how much I lived closer to you and Dave. J has often commented this too. To help in any way needed. Or maybe just to be two extra souls, sitting across the table, who love you both.
    If I were there I would walk the halls with you at hospital. I would listen to you speak about your trials. And I would stay silent, but by your side, when you are silent.
    Friends. A very complicated word, isn't it. Funny how we can have friends for years but someone whose voice I have never heard, whose embrace I have never felt in person...well, you my friend have become so much more to me than some *in-person* friends could ever be!
    I want you home. At the beloved farm with all your critters who are true, unconditional, loving friends. I want you home so you can walk your land and speak with God. Dave needs this too. I do believe as soon as you set foot on that soil your hearts will be lifted. Your troubles will flow to God.
    I am here for you. I have emailed in a while for I never want to put pressure on those good manners of yours and make you feel a reply is needed. But, I do hit my knees and lift the two of up, several times a day. This, my friend, is my knee-mail :)
    You both are so loved.
    xo, misha

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  12. My heart is aching. I am and will always keep the two of you in my prayers. May you soon be home where you can find you don't even have to think about taking a breath.. With all my heart I wish I could do something to help. Just know I will be pestering God alot with my prayers for the both of you.

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  13. I send good thoughts, prayers and hope that you'll soon be home. Breathing is hard when we love someone so much, and know they're in pain. God bless.

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  14. I read every word and tears fell. Just when our crosses get hard to bear we are called to help another carry theirs.

    In my heart, prayers and when I go to the barn I will kiss the does here for you. And ask God that he sends you both back home soon to mend.

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  15. Dear Sandra,
    I am so very sorry you and Dave are going through this hard time. Please know you are being held up in prayer.

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  16. I am so sorry that you heard bad news. The doctors there, while technically some of the best, have the interpersonal skills of alligators. I wish there was something I could do to make your life easier while you are here. I was hoping to offer to visit or help with something this week but then I cam down with a cold and I don't think you or Dave needs my germs around!

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  17. I dropped by here a couple of weeks ago Sandra, and gathered that there was something going on with your husband(and hoped it wasn't what I was thinking it was), but didn't "make the time" to check back further into your posts or to sign in or comment! Being wrapped up in my own "difficulties", I've been doing that quite a bit lately, and find that blog reading has been in the too hard basket. Your post has now confirmed it all, and my heart goes out to your husband and you. My problems definitely pale into insignificance.

    I've almost deleted this whole comment a couple of times feeling that I haven't said enough, or said too much, or not the right things. It's very hard to know what to say at times like this, so I've just left it as is and figure that you'll take it in the heartfelt manner it was intended.
    I wish only the very best for Dave and for you.

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  18. Dear Sandra, I can't even count how many times I have been at the bedside of someone I loved dealing with cancer. I have lost count but I understand the feelings of abandonment. They are real and I am so thankful you can voice them in your blog. It is when you can't voice them that bitterness can creep in. I think really, in our society we don't know how to handle suffering and we don't know what to do, so we just go away. I don't think people do it out of lack of love, I think it is fear.
    I want you to know I will be praying and God does and will work miracles. Don't give up and I will pray that God will let you go home soon.
    My heart wishes so much to come along side and give you a hug.
    I will send this verse. " He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble."
    Psalm 91:15

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  19. Sandra, dearest,

    All of us here that are praying for you . . . are holding your arms up for you. It is okay that you are too tired to hope, to pray, to believe right now. We who are not tired . . . gladly pray on your behalf.

    Wish I was close enough to also do something practical . . . I am a practical girl and it is how I express my love best.

    Gladly the doctor is not God. phew!

    Sending love,
    Glenda

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  20. Julian of Norwich did indeed say that, and it is consolation to remember it. It has also consoled me to remember the words of Samuel Rutherford, "It is possible to gather gold, where it may be had...by moonlight." In these dark days of uncertainly, worry and and unknowing, the good Lord will have placed gold in your path in places unlooked for, corners unexpected. I will be praying for you to find these nuggets and hold them close as gifts from a Father who loves you dearly.

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  21. Dear Sandra
    you are going through the toughest challenge of life now, i hope you can find solace through your faith and faithful friends, many people just dont know what to say or fear saying the "wrong thing". Keep up your hope, positive thoughts, breathe and think of your beautiful farm and let those wonderful feelings fill your heart and soul,
    i send a truck load of love and prayers to both of you xox

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  22. Oh Sandra, I wish I was close and I'd run over and give you a big hug. Please don't ever apologize for being exhausted in body and spirit - everyone who is praying for you certainly understands that your sweet Dave must take precedence over anyone else right now. What a beautiful gift Mary Q gave to you and what a lovely photograph. Now close your eyes, take a deep breath and just for a moment remember the best things about your farm. Let them give you strength. (((((((((((Sandra))))))))

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  23. Sandra I love the picture thank you for sharing. My Mom use to tell me the same thing about friends and friendships, I don't think many of us realize this until we are older. Keeping you and Dave in prayer. I'm so blessed each time I visit your blog. The Lord will give you strength. Blessings. Tonya.

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  24. Bless your sweet soul, you are tired and homesick, and heartsick. I stayed with my daughter in a big city in a hospital for a matter of only days when she had the baby and I thought I would die myself.

    I never realized how much a building like that could suck the life right out of me. Her husband was the same way--he kept saying "I have to get back to the mountain, I have to get OUT of here!!"

    I can't imagine how you feel, being in the city and in hospitals for so long now. I truly wish I lived closer so I could come and give you a break and let you get back home and breathe in the air on your own property.

    I am going to pray specifically for you to be able to hang on until the end, sweet friend.

    Meanwhile, find some fresh air to breathe as often as possible. I know this is hard.
    XOXO
    Joni

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  25. Oh Sandra and Dave, sometimes things are just plain awful and no words can change that. I am sorry to hear of that callous young doctor, and can only imagine what that news combined with your homesickness has done to demoralize you both.What the brain knows and what the weary , tired heart feels are often worlds apart.I will pray for you both.

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  26. What Linda of Texas says is - you are doing the best you can with what you've got and God knows it - So do those of us blessed to be able to refer to you as a sister in Christ - one day at a time. BTW the new normal isn't as great as the old normal but I've realized - normal is a questionable plumb line at best. In Christ Alone and I'll join you standing in that field - better to be oxen in Christ!

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  27. Usually I punch in and roll through blogs quickly, leaving a short curt response if the colors and the design catch my eye. I don't spend a lot of time. This morning I actually had time and stopped by. I found myself sitting with a cup of coffee and being able to read through your post....I am touched by your words of instruction to comfort others. I am touched by your strength shining through and I am touched by your willing transparency to a world on the internet that may or may not know our Lord.
    Blessings to you both.
    Terisa

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  28. I pray for you and Dave daily dear Sandra. How I wish I lived closer so that I could come and help with whatever you needed.

    I absolutely LOVE the photo of you and Dave and your furry ones.

    Much Love,
    LuLu

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  29. Sweet Sandra,
    My prayer for you ~ peace be at your right side, peace be on your left, peace under you and peace above you, peace surround you and your beloved all through out this journey NOW and in the days to follow. You cannot go where God is not there.
    Here is hoping you get to return to your beloved farm. Sending you my love from Springfield, MO. ~ Katie

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  30. Oh my dear I wish I could be there to give you a hug and help you just breathe! I'm sorry that that "young buck" upset you. My grandmother said, every dog has its day. So, there will be a day when his lack of sensitivity is dished out to him when he needs a little compassion, although that's no comfort to you now. Hold on to your faith with all your might, it will see you thru. You and Dave are always in my thoughts and prayers.
    Blessings,
    Colleen

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  31. It has been my experience that you are correct in that only God can fill that spot and your needs. He will "never" leave you, He is always there to sit beside you, He alone will get you through this. Sometimes it helps to be able to say what is on your mind and there is no apology needed for that. I find it helps some of us to cope better and helps to move on with what ever the circumstance may be.You are loved and many are praying for you. Be sure to take a little time for yourself so that you may be refreshed to go on. It is a difficult thing you are going thru but God is there, Even when it doesn't FEEL like it.

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  32. My prayers will remain with you, Sandra and your hubby Dave! It's wonderful that you can share your heart with those who really care even tho we aren't your physical neighbor we are online...God brings us together for a reason don't you think? I know HE is with you and knows all your needs...your faith will feed you sweetie...God will provide! This scripture in John was shared with me will at a Christian Retreat and I'd like to share it with you and Dave. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
    John 14:27
    <3 I love the photo given to you by Mary Q..it speaks volumns!!!

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  33. I am so sorry for your pain and all that you are going through and continue to pray for you both. I wish I could do something to help you.

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  34. oh dear.

    how could you ever worry about hurting our
    feelings? YOU and dave are the ones we are
    worried about. such devastating news that i
    refuse to believe.

    you must rest. we will just fight harder.

    love,
    lea

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  35. I cannot say anymore than to with a resounding YES to Lea's post, promise you that fighting and fighting harder is the ONLY answer....we have been down that road too many times with family and friends...noone here will be vanishing....we may be preoccuppied a little spacey at times, but WE ARE HERE PRAYING..Please take care of yourself, and listen to your body!
    In prayer, Nancy and family

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  36. Sandra,
    I have tears in my eyes and my heart is breaking for you but I will say prayers for you and Dave and I know all will be well!
    You WILL get back to the farm you cherish! Believe That!

    Your writings are so amazing and you give so much! I have been away from blogging like before also and check in now and then as I clean up mylife too.
    Miracles happen every day so have your faith and Gos will be good to you!
    Blessings, Cyndi

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  37. Thanks for sharing your lovely picture.
    So sorry Dave and you are going through a difficult time. I will keep both of you in my thoughts and prayers.

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  38. I too have experienced that abandonment. I'm sorry for your pain. I'll be lifting you and Dave up this morning. May you find peace and may you soon return to your beloved farm!

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  39. I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's health and all that you've been through already. Shame on that doctor being so insensitive. I came over from OWOH after you entered my giveaway -- and I will keep you in my prayers. Stay strong!

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  40. Sandra,

    Please don't apologize for sharing what you are feeling and thinking. You need to be able to get it out there and not have it fester inside your head and your heart. Sometimes the best therapy is to just get the words started and LET THEM FLOW. You ESPECIALLY don't need to be worrying about any hurt feelings.

    When I was dealing with some of my own issues in the last few years, I was hurt and confused that many of my friends and family had pretty much disappeared. What I found out later is that they just flat out did not know how to deal with it. They didn't know what to say or what to do. They said they felt helpless because I seemed to be handling it all and didn't ASK for anything.

    I hope that the fact that you are sharing how you are feeling will wake some of them/us up to what you NEED. I hope you will not feel that you should apologize and that you will do better than I did at asking for that help. If a friends says "what can I do?" - tell them ~ let them help you.

    No one can know what it feels like to be in your shoes, but go ahead and let them at least allow you to kick those shoes off for an hour or two.

    Sorry for my lengthy blurb, but I just want you to know that even though I haven't checked in very regularly myself ~ you've both been in my thoughts and prayers. I wish I was closer so I could be helpful in person.

    BTW, I LOVE that beautiful photograph. What a precious moment and gift!

    Jules

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