Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The Refiner's Fire and Peace

Before reading this, please note: I am not giving up, but things are getting harder. In addition to the new tumor in my brain, oncologists just found a new tumor in my tailbone. The tumor board is meeting this week to try coming up with a plan because what we're doing right now doesn't appear to be working.


"I don't understand you," the woman said. "How can you talk about death so calmly?" She'd recently been diagnosed and reminded me of myself at the beginning of this journey. "Quit saying you're terminal. Words have power."

"We each have to do what's right for us," I said. "You're so strong and full of life.

"So are you.

"I'm starting to get tired, though," I said. "This has been a long journey." I thought about my most recent scans. The cancer is progressing, and although doctors say there will probably be a cure for this kind of melanoma in a few years, we don't know if I'll make it that long

"Aren't you scared to die?" she asked

"No," I said. "Not anymore. I'll get to see people who have gone before me." And part of me could hardly wait for God's loving embrace. I could almost feel His kindness encompassing me as I said the words. It felt like the synagogue.

"Why did this happen to me? Why is this happening to any of us?

"I honestly don't know," I said. But I have learned a lot.

"Elisa, I want to accept things like you have.

"I'm still working on it, but I'm getting closer every day.

"You're really not scared, are you?

"No," I said. "God comes to us when it's time. He's a good God." David's words from Psalm 103:8 came to mind, and I couldn't help but smile. "You know, I prayed for God to send me through the refiner's fire the year I got sick. I started studying Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Many people say it's a story of healing, how the three men went into the fire and came out okay. But I later realized that it has nothing to do with physical health. The people in that story grew in the ways that truly mattered, and they left all else behind.

Something must have hit her because she cried and cried right there in my front room. "I can't do this,

I put my arms around her. "I've felt that way too—so many times. But I promise that somehow it'll be okay. It has been for me.

"But doctors say this is what you're dying from," she said

"And even that became okay once I found faith that God has a plan.

After she left, the kids asked if we could do something as a family, so Mike set up the badminton net in the backyard. I can't play badminton anymore, so I sat in my wheelchair, cheered, and smiled as I watched Mike and the kids play

At one point, tears filled my eyes because I realized I'd reached a new season in my life. It wasn't about playing the game and enjoying the ability to make the birdie soar. I found so much joy and happiness in watching my family enjoy the moment. I worked for years to give them the best of everything, to raise them to be strong, kind individuals. And seeing that come to fruition is more than I ever hoped for

I'd been so scared to die because I would no longer be an active participant in their lives. It seemed like a glass wall where I could see out, but they could never see in. I'd be invisible to them… forever. But as I sat, cheering them on, I realized the only thing stronger than fear, sickness, and death… is love.

Nothing can take that away. Not time. Not sorrow. Not even fate. Love will always tie me to Mike and the kids. Whether this worsens and I die in my 40s or someone pulls through with a cure, I'm finally at peace because we have what matters

Ever since I got cancer, I wondered what my purpose was and what made my life matter. It was never about playing the violin or being a writer. It wasn't about the jobs I had, the degrees, or the things I accomplished. It was always about making people feel loved. And somehow, as I sat in my wheelchair and realized I'd done exactly what I needed to in this life, that was enough.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful written Elisa. The most important thing in our life is the love we have to share. Not the money, the job or anything else. All that counts is love.Also the love to ourselves. Thats why we are here. Petra