“People aren’t stamped with an expiration date.” The oncologist’s kind eyes and graying temples coaxed me into belief.
“Prognosis for Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer: Three to four months.” My previous web search contradicted. I kept the contradiction to myself and squeezed my husband’s hand.
The man I loved straightened his shoulders. “What do you recommend, Doctor?” His question fell clear and strong like the ring of an ax.
The doctor’s long legs swiveled his stool. He faced my husband square on. He laid out our options, answered all our questions, then shook our hands and took his leave.
“I’m going ahead with the workshop. I’ve always wanted a workshop. I’m not stopping now.” My husband declared on our drive home.
“Are you sure you won’t over do? What about our son? He’s only six.” My mind reeled.
“I’m positive. His tree house is going up along with my workshop. There will be a swing and a slide underneath and a climbing net inside. I’m not just going to lie down and die. And I’m getting a second opinion.”
Yes, yes. Stand like a tree. Don’t give in. Stay in control.
Six months later: The workshop and tree house were finished. The second opinion had confirmed the first. Our son was seven.
My husband bent over a notebook, tabulated and cross referenced. His strong, neat handwriting listed and located every tool and piece of equipment, every type of oil and service schedule for tractor, boat, and cars, and every name and number of his favorite service men.
“It’s for you, my Love. You can do this. You can get people to help, and I’ve taught you how to drive the tractor.”
Yes, yes. The ax is sharp, but I can do this. He believes in me. Stay in control.
Six more months: All funeral plans had been made. All financial details had been finalized. All titles had been put in order. Our son and I had started home school.
At the dinner table my husband took a bite and started to gag. The chemo and the cancer were taking their toll. Our son, knowing what was coming, bolted out of his chair. Before his dad could heave out the bile, he was behind his bedroom door seeking his own control.
“Come, Sweetie. You can come back and eat now. Daddy is getting sicker isn’t he? But, come, you must eat.”
Be like a sapling, my son. Bend, bend with the wind.
Yet another six months: Chemo trips were a weekly routine. The oncologist hadn’t aged, but his patient had. Cheek bones protruded. Eyes recessed. Our eight year old son sat silent in the back seat on the drive home from the clinic. My husband was still at the wheel.
“I’m not doing any more chemo.” He reached across the console for my hand. “And I’m not taking any more natural remedies. We have no evidence that they are helping.”
I caressed the paper thin skin on the top of his hand while his words sank in. “You have the right to this decision, you know. You have to choose your own way. It’s your life. It’s your death. It’s your choice.”
No, no. I’m not in control. I’m not in control at all! What a relief! What will be, will be. God knows the when. God knows the how. But I am NOT in control. And that is a very good place to be.
The ax was slow at its work, but steady on. Six months later, in the middle of the night, the tree groaned heavy and long. It groaned and heaved and groaned again, forever into the night, consciously aware of the biting blade. It shuddered. It gave. It sank. Deep, deep into its bosom earth. Forever out of control.
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Is God really in control? Or is He a God that allows our choices to control things here in this world? Jesus taught us to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This suggests that God’s will is not always done on earth.
Perhaps our God is not the controlling God that is often portrayed. He guides. He woos. He pleads. But perhaps, just perhaps, He truly respects our choice.
For more Biblical insight into this concept, please take the time and listen to
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Have you ever felt out of control and found God there? Please share your story and help us find God there as well.
Perhaps you are or have been a caregiver to the sick or dying and have felt inadequate or imperfect. I have a friend and fellow writer whose blog, The Imperfect Caregiver, is dedicated to encourage caregivers like yourself. Click here to link to Bobbi Carducci’s blog.