So I sit here waiting for a phone call; a doctor’s phone call to tell me about the state of my brain and the small tumor invading it. I slipped into the MRI machine yesterday evening for an hour and have been waiting since for the call. This is a big one because it is the first one since I started chemo in December.
What a huge battle there is in my mind and in my soul for peace. How hard it is to focus on the writing that I need to be doing for the John Edwards interview that will be up on our site later today. The battle, as it is in times like these, is between faith and fear, between imagination and promise, between hope and discouragement, between excitement and dread. The good news would be if the slow-growing tumor wasn’t growing anymore. The great news would be if it had shrunk in size – although that is less likely because with slow-growing tumors like these they are “slow to grow and slow to go” and three months of chemo isn’t a whole lot.
I dare say that I am hopeful. I dare say that I have faith. And I do – except when that faith scares me, except when that faith feels too bold or too daring or too vulnerable. Because what is more crushing than faith betrayed?
When I was lying in the machine last night listening to all of its whirrs and clanks and buzzes I tried talking to God about my faith. I said that I felt like my faith had been stronger four years ago when I had first been diagnosed. Then, through surgery and through recuperation and through return to work my faith was strong. I proclaimed how God had healed me. I told people about it. I believed it. Sure, there were scary moments of doubt but faith was the rule.
Then a couple of years ago when it became clearer that there was some remnant tumor and it continued to grow, my faith felt betrayed. Hadn’t I had all the faith in the world? Hadn’t I done everything right? Why wasn’t that enough? Since that time my faith has wavered. There are times when it is actually stronger than ever, when I don’t just believe but almost know that God is healing me, that I will be around for a long time. But those times aren’t the rule. Most of the time I doubt. I hate writing it but I do. I doubt. I question. I try to understand. I can’t. I remember hearing a friend emerge from grief over the loss of his dearest friend saying he realized he could “either have God or have understanding…. My doctor called as I wrote those words.
Good news. No growth, it appears to have stopped growing. I am flooded with relief… and a voice of doubt that says, “Well, maybe it will grow later, you can’t be sure….” Today, faith quashes doubt because today faith wins…as it does every day, even when I don’t have much.