Over the past few years, as I’ve lived with the brain tumor in my head, I’ve come across two fellow travelers – people who know, uniquely, the experience of living a life where your brain has already been picked.
One woman, Alicia Sky Kunerth, as diagnosed with the worst of all possible brain tumors in 2002. The other gentleman was diagnosed with a less aggressive tumor in 2004. The latter man, David Welch, started a website called 38lemon.com dedicated to spreading information and news about his own journey and about brain tumors in general.
This week each of them received news. One that they are tumor-free and the other that they are dying and nothing more can be done for them.
Sky is tumor-free. David is dying.
My mind doesn’t know how to assimilate this news. I am SO happy for Sky. SO happy. She has lived her life so fully these years since diagnosis. Frankly, I want to be more like her – and not just in the medical sense.
But I am also so sad about David. Just so very, very sad.
Logically, of course, I understand. In understand the differences between us are just as distinct as the differences between everyone reading this and the child who died just now of malnutrition or starvation or preventable disease. I understand the difference between lives spared and lives lost. My mind gets that.
I suppose it is my heart… my soul… that doesn’t get it.
Recently I was told a story about Steven Curtis Chapman, the Christian musician who lost his young daughter in an accident. A friend who went to the viewing at the funeral home brought his teenage daughter. When Steven saw her he bent down and looked into her eyes and said, “God is not surprised by this. God is not surprised.” My friend’s daughter crumpled in his arms, a bawling girl in a grieving father’s arms.
I think, however, Steven has it right. God is not surprised. God grieves. God mourns. God shares our grief. But but he is not surprised. And he has been here before… it was God, after all, who grieved over losing his own Son… and he knew the end of the story.
This is what faith is ultimately about… not always understanding, but always believing that there is the One who does understand.
So I sit typing on my keyboard with a snoring Newfie sprawled out next to me, five-and-a-half-years after being diagnosed feeling a bit blue but generally quite fine – I ran for the first time in ages yesterday… and made a coffee cake too… the former made me feel like I could indulge in the latter… never knew how easy it was to make that crumbly part on top… potentially a bad thing to discover… rejoicing in the God who is greater than this universe no matter what the news might be, laid bare by the certainty of his love.