Last Saturday, I was to be on a plane heading to Antigua, Guatemala for the week. My best friend since I can remember is getting married to the love of her life this coming Saturday. Friends since middle school, we have a decade plus of memories. Stephanie and I share a unique bond because while I lived in Honduras we had the joy of being central american neighbors. (she lives in Guatemala permanently and teaches fourth grade). The trip planned months ago was one that I looked forward too. A return to a part of the world that I hold dear and a wedding sure to be beautiful.
One month ago I cancelled that flight.
Sunday evening while resting, my computer alerted me of an incoming Skype video call. I answered and smiled at the screen as three of my dear friends, sitting together in Guatemala City enthusiastically said “Hi!” through the computer screen. As though we were together. For the first few moments it made me feel like I was not so far away. I smiled and fought back the tears.
I told myself don’t cry. It’s not their fault you are not there. They are sad too. This head talk I gave myself only made it worse. Shortly after my mom took over the conversation, while I left the room and lowered my head to tears. I allowed my tears to fall in the bathroom so they could not hear me…. and they could not see. I looked in the mirror as water filled up my big brown eyes and I was just short of screaming…. When your best friend gets married, you show up. You wear the dress in the color she requested and walk down the aisle to stand at her side. That is what you do. But this time I don’t get too. Sure, I have a travel voucher now that I must redeem before August. Which means a fun trip abroad to plan, but when its not the trip you wanted, the joy of planning some place to go in exchange loses its value. The truth of the matter is that I am missing her wedding day.
The hardest part of cancer is it has wreaked so much of who I thought I was. The type A, on time planner was put on the shelf with this diagnosis. When I was diagnosed with cancer I was not given instructions. There is no manual to doing this. There is no warning of when I will break down in tears. There are no guarantees. Doctors can’t give me a checklist to ensure I heal properly. My emotions ebb and flow just as the wind blows and my attempts at normalcy seemed to be knocked down in the tidal wave of the unknown.
Tomorrow I will find out my test result regarding my tumor. I will learn whether I have to undergo chemotherapy. Whether I have to start the egg harvesting process. Whether I will loose my hair.
Today I am afraid. Today I am sad. Today I don’t know how to do this.
And today I have learned why loving Jesus and choosing to follow him is the hardest. Because you have to believe when you don’t want to. And you have to trust. You have to admit that you are not the one writing the story but someone else is.
If you’re praying for me, or lifting me up in your thoughts regarding tommorow, my hope is not for a specific result, but that I have peace in whatever the result is. That I rejoice in Thanksgiving on Thursday regardless of what I find out tomorrow. If you could do that for me. Rather than try and control the outcome, help me choose how I respond to the outcome.
My dad lands this afternoon and as the little girl that has always been told I look just like my dad I cannot wait for him to arrive.
Surely we have reason to give great thanks this holiday…. regardless of the outcome.
Below are some pictures of Stephanie (the one getting married this weekend). One from a very long time ago and two from our time in Antigua together two years ago. The beautiful cobblestone streets will be where she will take her wedding photos this weekend.
I am getting ready for a “fill up” this afternoon and then to pick up my dad. Will write soon. Thank you again.