I woke up this morning.
I know, I know: I'm typing this so clearly I woke up. But I don't meanwoke up in the usual, earthly, sleep-ended-and-my-bleary-eyes-opened-and-I-got-out-of-bed-and-made-coffee sense. I mean that I woke up.
A few words before I continue with this, because I'm sure that some of you will get about halfway through what I'm about to write, shake your heads, click your tongues and think 'well, she's lost it'. But I assure you that I haven't; no, in fact, I feel more clear-headed than I have in 22 days. And I also feel more alive, more free, more hopeful and more driven than ever before. I felt actual joy this morning; I laughed heartily and sincerely when, as I pulled into a McDonalds drive thru, Abby suddenly pressed a button on our GPS and it belted out the tune 'Wild One' by Faith Hill at ear-splitting volume (They said change your clothes, she said no I won't, they said comb your hair, she said some kids don't... anyone who knows my daughter will know why this was so snicker-worthy and ironic). I felt the sunshine and the beautiful day and saw a glimpse of what could be the future and it included my little sunshine. So like I said, bear with me and hang on for the ride.
This awakening, as I'll call it, began last night after I got home and attempted to put Abby and Isaac to bed. Abby complied; Isaac threw what can only be described as an epic tantrum; a kicking, screaming, fighting, resisting, big-tears-rolling-like-the-driving-rain kind of meltdown. And I was beyond tired. Beyond exhausted, really. Yesterday was not a good day for me. It was hard mentally and even harder emotionally to be staring down the barrel of chemo; to see Logan in a baby-like state of helplessness for hours as we sat alone together in his room. So shortly after I pulled the van into our driveway, I asked Heidi to come over for a while to talk; well, so I could talk and she could listen. And she did. I abandoned my attempt at Isaac domination and let him come downstairs since he clearly had no interest in his bed, and he wandered around babbling and bringing us toys and books (and grapes!) as we lounged on the couch.
Eventually, I found my voice and spoke. A lot. And probably mostly of the drunk-speak variety for a long while, as thought after thought, mostly negative, mostly hopeless, flitted around in my head like little butterflies trying to escape en masse through a pinhole. I rambled on about my fears, my difficulty with maintaining a sense of hope, my worries, my exhaustion. I talked about the evil that is cancer, as I have here before: How it not only grows inside a body and systematically destroys the good tissue, but also outside, picking apart and complicating relationships. At the same time, a dichotomy in my speech gradually developed, balancing out the sadness, the suffering: I marveled over the amazing outpouring of support, the offers of help, the prayers. I shared that I was completely bowled over by the number of churches praying for Logan and for us and wondered why, in light of the overwhelming good, I have such difficulty filtering out the bad.
And then, like a thunderbolt, it hit me (and I fully realize that this is where some of you will think I've lost it, but again I assure you I haven't): This is a spiritual battle. And this one is centered inside my son's brain.
Say what? I know. Even to me, it sounds a little freaky-deaky. But I fully believe it's true. As a Christian, I've always believed that there are both good and evil forces at work in this world. Nothing else explains situational disparities, why 'bad things happen to good people' and conversely, why good things happen to 'bad' people, as effectively or as completely.
The second that I reached that conclusion, it was as if something clicked. I almost instantly felt a sense of calm set in, a strange hyper-awareness, as if my fingers were somehow more securely attached to my hands, and my toes to my feet. And then a thunderbolt of a thought boomed through my mind (and as I said to Heidi, no I'm not schizophrenic). It was just a few words, but they were more powerful than anything I could ever write here: You've got it.
You've got it.
So I sat and mused for a long while with Heidi listening in. I re-visited similar (though not nearly as devastating) experiences from my past that I'd considered spiritual battles and traced a line of them that led to this very point in time. They were times that threatened to destroy my self-image, my relationships, the forward propulsion of my life that wound up bringing me here to where I am now. They were all awful times filled with personal anguish and suffering, but they all carried the same calling card: God carried me through them. I survived with tales to tell, although I admit that I mostly keep them to myself, if only to avoid the embarrassment inevitably associated with sharing faith in an open way that leaves one vulnerable to scrutiny. And now, I'm able to use those painful times to help accurately identify what's going on in the now with my precious little sunshine.
I don't know if it's me or Logan or my family that's the true target here, or if it's even bigger than all of us combined. I've always felt like Logan was special somehow; not in the short bus kind of way (sorry, grossly inappropriate, but I need to amuse myself somehow), but by the make-up of his spirit. By his 4-year old brand of faith, hope and love that has always seemed both pure and advanced at once. By the way he makes others laugh and smile, and by how other children tend to love him and want to be his friend. By how despite his pain, he mustered enough strength to leap to his feet and aggressively belt out songs of faith for Adam and I just a week ago. I believe and will continue to believe that he has a very special mission in this life, and I now believe that evil - in the form of cancer - is trying to end that mission prematurely.
I don't know how this will play out. I wish I could be privy to God's mind right now, but no one here has that luxury. But I'm going to keep amassing my army of prayer warriors and I'm going to believe (although I know at times my faith will waver) that God can overcome the evil of cancer and heal my little sunshine.
Although I'm sure I'll continue to have my ups and downs, I now have a new sense of resolve. I want to keep those prayers for complete healing flowing ceaselessly. I want a flood of them sent forth to God every single day. I want to work to keep my own hope for complete recovery on this side of Heaven alive.
And I have a message to send to Logan's cancer and to evil: We have an army here. We know what you're trying to do. And we're going to kick your ass.