We taught our boys the “Now I lay me down” prayer when they were about 2 1/2.
“Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Guard me Jesus through the night
And wake me with the morning light.”
By the time our middle son was three, he wanted to branch out with his own requests.
He prayed regularly for Pete.
He didn’t know any Petes.
Although his paternal grandparents had a friend named Pete and 31 years later Pete is still going strong, so who knows? The prayers of a child, right?
And this little toddler son of ours often began his prayers with “Lord, we have our days and we have our days.”
It’s become a family motto for the past three decades.
We do indeed.
Lately I’ve been saying, “Lord, we have our years, and we have our years.”
This past year was a doozy.
It started after Memorial Day, 2021 when I was literally hours away from death.
The Covid that barely skimmed my family hit me hard.
In the ICU, after having my heart shocked into submission and being pumped full of who-knows-what and gallons of blood drawn (I’m sure that is barely an exaggeration) and having X-rays and CT scans all night long, we found out why I was so sick.
I have an underlying comorbidity.
Unbeknownst to me—because apparently I’m rather clueless—megalosplenatic lymphoma had extended my spleen to the size of a basketball.
Biggest spleen the oncologist ever saw.
I was a rock star at the hospital.
Nurses, interns, other doctors would poke their heads in my room and say “Can I feel your spleen?”
Honestly, words I never expected to be directed at me.
So began a year of one kind of chemo that had no effect on my spleen but gave me ugly, painful mouth sores, rigors (severe, uncontrollable trembling) and some nausea.
Then another kind of chemo, several CT scans, more blood draws from my pincushioned arms, oodles of naps, countless prayers from loved ones and even strangers, and way too much anxiety and “what if” thoughts.
And then a follow up appointment yesterday.
While I’ll always have lymphoma, for now the chemo did its job.
My oncologist didn’t use the word “remission” but did say my family would have to put up with me for good while yet. Wonderful words that had seemed too much to hope for.
We have our years and we have our years. This one showed me that when my faith burns low, the prayers of God’s people warm me. When I’d rather huddle at home, if I drag my droopy-bodied and scraggly-haired self to church, I experience joy. I’m taken out of myself and my worries and fears and brought into a foretaste of glory divine.
This year demonstrated that I’m pretty weak. And guess where God promises that HIS strength is made perfect?
This year cemented the truth I’ve professed for ages but never internalized to this degree: God uses His people to care for His people.
And this past day reminded me that no one but God has my days numbered. So instead of worrying about how many more He may have planned for me, I best get moving and love every minute of today, while it is today.
Praise God for this past year.
And please, God, if it’s your will, can this coming year be rather uneventful?
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash