Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Daily Things

It came and went without any fanfare or recognition. I actually had to check my diary to confirm the date. And here I am, four months and a handful of holidays later, finally writing about it.

The one-year anniversary of my final radiation treatment fell on October 8, 2014. And I didn't even notice. It seems like that would have been a major milestone, something worth posting about. But at that point last fall, we were in the midst of a heavy travelling schedule, speaking in churches and visiting family and friends. I was struggling to keep my head above water as we tackled a laundry room renovation and carried on our ministry here while taking major trips a couple of times a month.

I was tired and irritable, and found myself getting upset over the littlest things, things that wouldn't matter in a few months, or a hundred years . . . much less in eternity.  

And I had to ask myself: how can a person go through something as life-threatening as cancer, and still get angry over a measuring mistake during construction? It seems that by now I would have figured out what was really important, embraced it, and let the rest go.

The fact is, it's seldom the big things in life that trip us up. Oh, sure, they jar us. They stop us in our tracks, make us scream heart-wrenching questions, shake us to the core. But then, as the crisis becomes a daily reality, we seem to dig deep, find the Strength we need, and steady ourselves for the long haul.

But it's the little foxes that spoil the vines, as wise King Solomon once said. Or, as one of my friends told me, meltdowns usually come "apparently over something totally dumb ~ like they didn't have my usual brand of ketchup on the grocery shelf. But of course, that was only the trigger. It is the little things that get to us. We're good at balancing the BIG things, and most of the time God doesn't send too many at us at one time. But if that foundation of all the little things gets shaky, it makes the balancing act so much harder." She lived overseas as a military wife for a time, so she knew what she was talking about.

It seems we can "gear up" for the big things. I clearly remember the day in May 2013 when I was told I had a foot-long blood clot in my right arm and would need to give myself daily blood-thinner injections until the end of my chemotherapy. Scary? Yes. Heart-stopping? Yes. But God gave me several opportunities that day to share my faith. I drove home from the hospital rejoicing.

As I drove, I thought about my son who had just finished his first year of university and was needing to work long hours in Pennsylvania over the summer to pay for his school bill. I felt empathetic panic rise up in my heart for the trials he was going to face. And I realized with a start that I was more worried for him than I was for myself.  More worried about a heavy workload than a blood clot? Somehow I knew God was going to take care of the big things, but the daily things? Well, that's another story.

Sounds ludicrous, doesn't it? I know full well that He cares about the world wars ... and the little sparrow that falls outside my door. If He can help me face cancer, He can help me face a "too-full" calendar. I just have to view them both in light of eternity.

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