Sunday, August 14, 2011
However, this past Friday was not that day. Having finished Jada's scans the day prior and still without results was not a recipe for a peaceful day. Throughout the day there was this eerie little reminder of the phone call that had not come. On Thursday evening I had spent some time on the phone with Jada's oncologist and it seemed as though he was going to call me by noon with the results.
Finally, after I tried distracting myself with work stuff at the church it was time for the family to hop in the car and drive up to see Jada's friend (and obviously OUR friend) Cora Peters for her birthday. Cora just turned sixteen so insurance rates will soar, curfew will be more strictly enforced, and a driver's license will be had (driver's ed happens to be one of her presents). While driving north on IL-40 I glanced at my time, 5:00pm. "Hmmm, Jess do you think I should just call St. Jude to find out?" "I'm not sure," was the reply. Well thanks for clearing up any ambiguity I had. Not five minutes later my phone rang and the I.D. said "St. Jude Peoria."
In that moment there is little training one can endure which makes them steady and fully prepared. I looked at Jess and her face went white. I picked up the phone and Dr. Al said very quickly, "I just wanted to tell you that Jada's scans all returned clear. You may come back Tuesday for a follow up."
There is a particular diner in Peoria my wife enjoys mainly because they serve what her limited diet can actually consume; it is called One World. As one walks in from the front door there is a mural with what appears to be a greek god holding the world on his shoulders. In that moment of pure elation after hanging up the phone, I felt like that mural - taking the weight and tossing it to the side. I cried. As we drove down the road I hung up the phone and just cried.
A short while later we arrived at Cora's house. Jada and I did a brief little celebratory dance next to our van as I got her out. Over the next few hours we were family. We played football, ate dinner, had great conversation, and in general were just welcomed in by a family who is in the middle of this same trial we just exited, and at that - for their second round. After 9 months in remission Cora's cancer returned. Our utter joy is co-mingled with perseverant prayer. For while our scans were ALL CLEAR there are many for whom scans are not clear at all.
This is the great temptation and the tremendous parallel: a body lacking health mimics sin and its catastrophic effect - death. The temptation, once health returns is to run out and buy the first t-shirt that says "I beat cancer" and speak of the strength of this person or that in facing a trial. Folks, Jada is not strong, Cora is not strong, BUT they both WALK WITH THE ONE WHO IS! In our fast paced, over-stimulated, under-related culture we must never tire of displaying our dependence. We have needed the Peter's in the past few months just as much, if not more than they have needed us. But, when the day is done our first and most conspicuous dependence is on Jesus Christ!