yesterday, we exhaled.
if you know me, or have been around here for long enough, you know that my little brother has been fighting (quite literally) stage 4 melanoma for 2+ years. if you've read "Inspired Lettering" you know a glimpse into me trying to hang on to light in the dark that is cancer, right in the thick of it.
I don't want to talk about it anymore. I'm sure he doesn't want me to talk about it anymore. but. here's the thing-- the more I have connected with so many of you, the more I have, communed, with so many of you, I've come to realize, that we are all so much alike. yeah, the circumstances of our lives are different. but what we feel, what we experience when we can't sleep at night, or hear that song come on the radio, is the same.
yesterday, Jake had a scan- and for the first time in 2+ years, instead of setting up more appointments, instead of more fear, more uncertainty, more cancer, another round, etc we got, "k! have a good summer!" stage 4 melanoma doesn't ever totally go away, but this is about as close to remission as you get. and WE WILL TAKE IT! my little girls were jumping up and down screaming. we all kind of are.
it was just a regular old Thursday. but it's a Thursday I didn't think we'd ever have. even with hope, I just didn't know. I also didn't know how heavy that cinder block still was sitting on my chest, because, honestly I felt my soul exhale.
if you're sitting there, in the thick of it, I get it. whatever "it" is. "affliction" the scriptures call it. the fog. the dark. the uncertain. the frustration. the disappointment. the lack. the guilt. the anger. the remorse. the anxiety. the loneliness. the depression. the torn. the twisted up.
A l m a 3 6 : 2 0
(from The Book of Mormon)
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
when I called Jake yesterday afternoon with my girls screaming in the background of excitement- this verse came to my mind. all he said was, "yep, so true." I don't pretend to know a sliver of what the last few years have been for him. the one fighting tooth and nail against melanoma at 18 & 19 years old. but I know a taste from the outside- and "exquisite" is probably a good word to describe the pain. in all forms.
but I can tell you, I could hear his smile through the phone. and I can tell you our joy. our.... peace. that of course we don't know what the future holds- but for today. our joy equals whatever pain we have felt.
there is some of this story that I'm keeping close to my heart. because, some moments are just too sacred to share. but- here's the deal.
I now know.
truly, with every ounce of my soul.
miracles are real. god lives and loves you and me. our prayers? they matter and are heard. patience in suffering? it's worth it. a firm hope during affliction? very hard. very very hard. but also worth it.
I almost hate saying it, because when you're in the dark, the light seems like a far off distant memory. a fairy tale surely only meant for others, for those more deserving. I get that. I remember being so overwhelmed by darkness at one point because of some circumstances not being cancer, that I truly couldn't even understand light at all. and was certain I'd never feel "rest" or hope ever again.
it's a lie.
it's a trap.
so I'm telling you this. because others said it to me, even when I refused to understand or believe- but it pushed me to take one step of faith. and then one more. and one more.
and that's really what matters. those little steps of faith through the dark. through the pain. through the fog. steps of prayer. of scripture study. of connection. of patience. of hope.
and no matter the "outcome"... you will be okay.
you are loved.