Friday, January 23, 2015

A Thread of Hope

It was another sleepless night as I lay there awake holding my dog while she was wrapped up in a warm fleece blanket. I sometimes use her as a teddy bear when I'm feeling very emotional. She doesn't mind either, it just means more warmth for her. Any time my mother has to go in for a procedure or for a check up to see if her cancer has lessened or worsened, I get that same feeling as I did when my dad went through this ordeal. I remember coming home from a long day of sitting with Dad at the hospital. He was screaming in pain and I didn't know how else to help him other than to hold his hand. The nurses weren't quick enough to fulfill his pain medication on a time. His IV bag was empty and well, so was my patience. I went out to the nurses' station and screamed at them, letting them know that they were making my father suffer and that it was just inhumane. They all rushed in with extra IVs and bags of morphine, scared that I would've made more of a psychotic scene. When Dad nodded off to sleep, I packed up my stuff and headed back home to get some rest. It was early June of 2012 -- a beautiful day despite what transpired in that hospital. I grabbed a glass of wine and my new rescue puppy and just sat outside and cried. I cried my fucking eyes out. Lola looked up at me for the very first time noticing that her new mama had tears. I snapped this photo of her because ever since that day, Lola had become my only source of comfort in this world.

Fast forward 2 1/2 years, and now my mom has to endure all of these tests, procedures, chemo and radiation. She was finally discovering her own independence and a newfound outlook on life. Have you ever felt when things are going so great, that there always has to be something new to throw a monkey wrench into the works?  That's how it felt when we first heard that Mom's tumor was cancerous. The doctor didn't even say, "You have cancer." He said, "Well, the biopsy showed that the tumor is cancerous." I mean, I guess a lesser of a blow than "You HAVE cancer" -- but nonetheless. Our world was flipped upside down once again. It was a very long day and so, we headed back home. I took care of Mom, but she had developed a very high fever. She began to shake and shiver. The doctor suggested that I should call for an ambulance. Once again, shuffling back up to the hospital, but this time, with all of us being so incredibly distraught and stressed out over Mom's diagnosis, there began an influx family drama on top of it all. And so, I drove back home and went straight to my only source of comfort in this world.

Are my prayers being heard? 
There's really not a whole lot you can do to fix things, other than just try to do the best you can with what you have. And when it comes down to taking care of yourself while trying to take care of someone else, that can be very tricky. I'm lucky if I get 3 hours of sleep a night. I worry. I jolt out of a deep sleep, or even right before I'm falling asleep from hypnic jerks. It's caused by stress. My insomnia is through the roof, so you can imagine all the informercials I come across. I'm extremely tired during the day, barely making effort because I'm just too incredibly weak. My ability to pray has even come to a screeching halt. I don't know how to pray anymore! I don't even know what to ask for. I mean, God has already made up His mind about our fate and what's to be -- so what good would it do to pray about it? I can't change God's mind if his will is to do something that would crush my entire world. Nobody is immune to fate. Nobody. So why would my pleads be any different than anybody else's?

"Oh God, please don't take away my parents!"
"Please God, heal my mother!"
"Dear God, please take the cancer away."

I prayed for Dad too.
"Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives." - Matthew 7
That's what the bible says. Every unanswered prayer or a prayer that goes in the opposite direction makes me lose a little tiny bit of hope each time. My ability to trust anything in this world and beyond has declined a great deal. I don't even trust that my prayers will be answered. So how am I supposed to trust anything here on earth? I don't know if I'm being tested, but any time I pray or ask for anything -- anything -- it goes so far from my grip that it's merely impossible for whatever it is to ever happen. But maybe I'm not supposed to be "here" -- or supposed to be asking for "this" or "that" -- it's just. not. in. the. plan. And to constantly go around the same mountain again and again is just plain insanity. See, my problem is, I know that without a doubt, there is a GOD -- and I know HE is right here listening to me tappity-tap-tappin' away on my laptop right now telling the angels, "Ugh boy, we have a lot of work ahead of us."


God's "no" isn't a rejection, as much as it is a redirection. Maybe I just need a different approach, a different path, a different outlook.
"When you go through waters of great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you." - Isaiah 43-2
And so, I've come to the conclusion that this is life. You do not get 'what you want' or rub some shiny vase for your genie Jesus to come out and grant you all of your desires in life. I guess I need more patience, more understanding, more endurance, more 'storms' so I can be stronger for the next hit. Maybe God's just trying to toughen me up a little, since I always run back home to hug my dog instead. (That'll never stop though.) For now, I may take different routes to help me cope, but my understanding of God and prayer is quite different now. Sometimes, the answers are more evident in the silence after we've gone through the storm. And most of the time, it is only one set of footprints, but for a very good reason. I'm just hanging onto a thread of hope here.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!