The summer I turned 14 my dad strapped our tiny Sunflower sailboat to the roof of our station wagon, herded my younger brother and me into the car, and off we set. Blue skies, high hopes, what could go wrong?
You can guess what went wrong . . . with the abruptness of a sneeze, the weather changed.
Ominous black clouds barreled across the sky, the wind and waves began to churn in furious frenzy, and a police officer screeched his squad car to a halt at the water’s edge to shout the obvious, “Get out! There’s a big storm coming!”
Never a match for even a hint of wild weather, the Sunflower capsized without a fight.
While my dad struggled against the whitecaps to flip our boat, my brother swam like mad to catch up to the oars and rudder caught rushing downstream in the rapid current.
I panicked and swam for shore.
I admit I overreacted. The water wasn’t even deep. If the bottom weren’t so ooky, I could have stood up and walked.
What can I say? Rough weather makes me nervous.
Maybe unpredicted storms aren’t always about weather, but are pictures of life’s unforeseen, uncontrollable, unwelcome circumstances.
I used to notice others battling to stay afloat in choppy seas of personal hardship, but I held them and their storms at arm’s length. Sure, I felt sorry for their troubles, but I didn’t want my boat to rock.
The threat of hard rocking scared me.
In order for my boat to hold steady
no one could be diagnosed with a terrible disease,
no one could die,
nothing could change.
Only it did.
Brain cancer blew in.
Since my husband’s diagnosis, squalls of symptoms and procedures have rocked my boat hard.
On good days I’ve handled gusts and gales with steadfast hope, unshakable faith, and supernatural confidence.
On not-as-good days I’ve caught myself braced for the worst, wringing my hands, and praying, “Please just make this scary weather stop.”
Last week a new boat-rocking symptom surfaced, so today we find ourselves in our cancer center’s waiting room. Again.
The quirkiness of the colorfully patterned plastic-covered chairs feels out-of-place. Waiting is serious, nerve-wracking business.
Arranged in “conversation” groups – several chairs are positioned near the coffee machine, others face the television, and the remainder cluster around magazine-covered tables. I wonder what sorts of waiting room conversations the decorator envisioned occurring here when the layout was considered.
For a room full of many people, there’s a void of conversation. Worrying quietly is easier.
I’ve sat in these same chairs for the last three years and depended upon them to hold me while I’ve waited for good news and bad. We’ve been through hours of waiting together.
But today feels different. Instead of dread or fear, today I feel expectant.
Lowering myself into one of the familiar chairs, I close my eyes and recite the promise I’ve copied into my journal, burned into my brain, and tattooed upon my heart:
For I am offering you my deliverance; not in the distant future, but right now! (Isaiah 46:13 TLB)
Yes, today I am waiting for news, but I am not waiting for deliverance.
The deliverance I need is already here, right now, present tense.
I have nothing to fear, nothing to dread.
My deliverance is at hand . . .
and so is yours, my friend.
See you next week,