I wanted what he had but I didn't know how to get it. I wanted the peace and his calm demeanor that he walked in with. I wanted that so badly, and my soul craved a tear-free day. Just once....
I prayed again for God to calm my nerves. On the inside I was a emotional wreck. On the outside I was the concerned dutiful escort. I didn't know how to be a wife anymore, nor a loving caregiver, and forget the idea of filling those "Nurse Nightingale shoes." Forget that, my emotions had run the gambit from one extreme to another, and never landed in the middle of peace that my husband had.
Never... until that day he showed me his peace.
It was a day we all land in at one time or another. We had been in this place before, and for some of you maybe today is the first of a long journey that is cancer-led. Another day of wondering if your teenager will come home, or you just lost someone that has left a void in your heart that can't be replaced with food. There are those times in life when we can only respond with tears and those ever present "why" questions. Those days, where just a calm peace needs to flood your soul, a constant reminder that God's knows your conflict, strife or today's list loaded with problems.
Just some days you need an extra dose of God's presence and peace to overwhelm you.
I needed to get some peace of mind, soul and spirit, that kind of peace that smiles in knowing that God has today in the palm of His hand. I longed for that kind of peace that passed whizzed by my wondering questions and left them in God's holy dust trail. I longed for that feeling of rest where my heart could hide out and find refuge.
From the way he describes it, the feeling of removing tiny staples from an incision site doesn't tickle.
My gut winced for him. We wait for the attending nurse to come in as we sit in silence together. He's such a patient patient. He lays back on the exam table in the face up position. I watched, perched from my supportive chair, with my finger bookmarking my faith in my journal.
We both close our eyes, resolved to our own private thoughts and silent words. There are days of marriage, when saying "I do" surprises you with the "worse" parts of your vows. Those days are when the silence just falls hard. I know all to well the depression that runs deep from a life of pain. My lids were a welcome dam to the pent up the emotions. It was safe to say we walked in worn and emotionally exhausted.
"God, here we are again." I prayed. I wondered if my patient was uttering my same tired words. This was not the first time around for either of us, years of testing have left us both a little spiritually exhausted. Cancer and it's after effects have gnawed at our faith. We both know it can rear it's ugly head like a pre-teen pimple, ready to bust open, spewing worry.
What I needed in that exam room was a reminder that God's got his recovery too.
We both believe the Good Shepherd healed this disease from our lives forever. But the reality is that cancer is pernicious, presumptuous, and unpredictable. When you are handed a pink-slip of fears, God's comfort is your only anchor. Without it, a patient's peace slips to the depths of an unknown abyss, fear wisps in and out of a burdened soul like a vapor.
My patient reminded me of his Healer's peace as he silently breathed his prayer of Psalm 23. He knew it by memory, it had calmed many a family storm. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want." He quietly mouthed the words.
His calm face was prostrate and God spoke to my concerned heart and asked if He could be my peace that day. "Will you let me lead you by my healing waters that flow deep?" I couldn't stop the waterworks. My busting heart leaked into my open hands as I realized Jesus, my Shepherd, was the only One who could lead me out of "what ifs and what's next" questions.
"Be still my little lamb and be stilled by My silent and peaceful waters that flow deep." Yes, God you do have this. I quietly spoke the words.
I felt like I was the patient on the table now. God's peace flooded my soul.
The Lord watches over us in the better and the worse, and the many vows in-between. He is never far like a good Shepherd, He constantly looks after those in His care. I know today that when the next wave roars, God will faithfully and patiently anchor my peace. Waves of anxiety will come and go, ebb and flow like the days tide, but in the stillness, in the silence, I will hear His comforting voice.
"This is the way, walk in it. I am the Lord, your Shepherd. I will not leave you in want." My response to His way of peace was to make His patient peace my priority. That can only be done in my silence, as I wade through the wedded worry headed to His green pastures, dabbling my toes in the comfort that only He can give.
Yes, Lord you patiently lead me, to your still waters, the waters of Life that calm my fears and still my storms, anchoring deep in what I know about you. You are my keeper and caretaker, my peace and patience, my love and may I linger in your green pasture. You are found on the mountains and in the valleys. I am never alone.