How trite the word “hate” has become. Just this morning I wanted to post a status saying something about how much I "hate" finding 3 pairs of matching socks in the morning while trying to rush out the door, and how that has replaced my "hate" for the alarm clock sounding off. Racking my brain now, I'm not sure I've ever truly understood the word. Granted I know what it means, what I mean to say is I'm not sure if I've ever truly grasped the idea of hate, in a tangible way.
Have I ever, have you ever, truly felt hate work its way up into your body from the core of your being and take over? I'm blessed to say that I have not, anger, fear, jealousy, inferiority, sure but never hatred.
However, as I sit here mulling in frustration, confusion, and fear I know that I must be careful. I know that I must pray often and tread lightly in this area of fear for hate is not far around the corner. When I reflect on last night, laying my head on my husband’s chest, arm lightly on his neck, I feel frustrated that the moment, while tender and sweet, was tainted and even produced by one tiny little abnormal cell that has taken over and wound its way into what often feels like our every thought. I feel sad that instead of laughing and talking, I was laying there secretly (or not so secretly as this has been a recurring habit over the last 5 years) praying for him, praying that his cancer is not back. Praying that God would take away his fear, and as a result my fear, and allow us to have even one week, month, or year without this threat hanging over us.
Jealous of the other couples who get married and have the first 5 years, 10 years or even 15 to enjoy life and embrace each moment worrying about trivial things, not big things. Not bone marrow testing, chemo, radiation, ct scans, blood tests, remission, follow up testing etc. We had barely celebrated our first anniversary when his 8 months of trying to figure out what was wrong with his neck produced the word cancer. We had barely celebrated our first anniversary, when we first understood cancer in a horrific and tangible way. Before cancer was a concept, now it is a bitter taste in my mouth.
I would NEVER, truly and honestly, change one day of the trial we walked through 4+ years ago. Not a single minute. His cancer woke him up, and pushed him into a place of obedience to Christ that he had never walked in before. I think that can be said for both of us. The trial with cancer was one of my favorite parts of our entire marriage, we laughed more, talked more, cried more, and prayed more than we had prior to and have since. His cancer trial and treatment was minimal, at best, in comparison to those of loved ones around us.
He had stage one, of an easy to treat, apparently non aggressive, form of cancer. He missed 6 days of work total during the entire trial and only suffered during 2 weeks of radiation. He was told he might never feel 100% again with physical exertion, but he does, that his beard might never grow back in the spots that were hit with radiation, but it has, that his saliva glands might not return to normal, but they are, one doctor told him that he would most likely never have more kids, I've since been pregnant twice. He has not suffered any lasting physical effects from his cancer except the scar on his neck from his biopsy, and the one on his chest from his port. Blessings. Each and every moment of our trial was laced and infused with grace and mercy from the Lord.
The bitter taste in my mouth comes from the other side of cancer. The side that we have not yet conquered, and in all reality is not humanly conquerable. It’s hard to defeat a concept, a thought, a lingering uncertainty. Cancer. It is so much more than 3, 6 or 12 months of treatments and tests. What makes me most frustrated is how that one cell has infiltrated itself into almost every aspect of our lives. How our entire marriage will forever be marked by how long he has been in remission. When I’m sitting on the couch watching a movie with him and glance over to see him stretching his neck and trying to hide the fact that he’s probing around feeling his lymph nodes, I get angry. I feel sad for him. I might only have to deal with cancer as more than a concept when a test is looming or when I catch him calculating the size of his latest concern, but he forever feels burdened by the possibility of it returning, by the unpredictable nature of cancer, by the lingering uncertainty, by his love and protection for us. I know when he’s probing and calculating, that he isn’t thinking about himself. He’s thinking about me, about Owen and about Micah and about how our lives would be affected if his cancer is back.
This is not to say that he lives in fear and does not rely upon or trust the Lord for guidance in this. He does. I do. Usually, and when we start lagging in that area we have these amazing testimonies to look back on, this amazing truth of what the Lord can do, and has done, for us. Even with our confidence in God, Brian’s body has been invaded by a foreign object that can potentially cause him a great deal of harm at any given time. It is that thought alone which could easily become the root of a wife’s new understanding of an old and over used word. A wife's resolve to minimize her use of the word in a hope that when it is used it holds the effectiveness it once did. It is that thought alone which could become the root of a wife's hate towards cancer.