Saturday, September 3, 2011

Advisory: This Blog Has Been Rated M, H, T

***Disclaimer*** This new post is rated "M" , "H, & "T".
M = Only should be read by the spiritually mature.
H = The author is hurting & asks not
to be judged.
T = The author will be transparent. (Some might not like what they see.)

One of the things that I feel we fail to do is allow others to truly see us. For the last few months I have been writing in my journal again instead of blogging. I tend to use my blog to be uplifting and encouraging. Today I cannot be a hypocrite. Wikipedia says, "Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, ideals, thoughts, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have.[1] Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie[1].The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek (hypokrisis), which means "play-acting", "acting out" [3] The word hypocrite is from the Greek (hypokrites).
The Greek actor (hypocrite) would play a role to interpret the proper emotions for the character they were playing.

We are taught many things according to our gender. As a man I should provide for, protect, and cherish my family. When there is a noise outside, I should go investigate and see what it is, even if I am the one most afraid. Tears equal weakness and the "man-mask" should stay intact, unless alone, and then when one is done with the showing of emotion, the mask is to be promptly back in place.
For a Christian the stakes are raised. Pray without wavering, exhibit complete faith in God, trust that "I can do all things through Christ", and "all things work together for good." Both of these commonly misquoted scriptures, Romans 8:28 and Philippians 4:13 should never be quoted without the verses that are to go with them. (Rom. 8:28-29 & Philippians 4:12-13)

My wife, Chris, had a mammogram this past Monday. That evening she called me to tell me that she was on her way home; I though I could detect something different in her voice. Maybe she was stopping to get us supper or going to prepare us some bizarre dessert for which she found the recipe while in the waiting room. It is safe to assume that in my world, surprises involve food. Much to my dismay, when Chris arrived home, she stepped into the bedroom not to tell me about a sweet treat we were going to enjoy, but that the doctor had found a mass on her breast. We needed to make an appointment with a surgeon.

I was caught with my mask not in place. I was not a rock. My world caved in. I walked outside and collapsed on the ground. Alone, I didn't plead with God, but I ranted and wept. My praise through all of my journey as a cancer survivor was that it was me and not my wife or children having to fight the fight. Now I learned that the monster was after my wife.

I was living Psalm 88. Scholar Walter Brueggeman calls this psalm "an embarrassment to conventional faith." He even asks, "What is a psalm like this doing in our Bible?" Maybe he never felt his world collapse or been thrown into the cave or maybe he's stronger than me or maybe he always kept his mask. Mark Buchanan writes, "Psalm 88 gives us language that transposes agony into prayers. Sorrow seeks to render us mute. Psalm 88 gives voice to what is most angry and grief-stricken and frightened inside us."
1 O LORD, God of my salvation,
I have cried out day and night before You.
2 Let my prayer co
me before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near to the grave.
4 I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a man who has no strength,
5 Adrift among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more,
And who are cut off from Your hand.

6 You have laid me in
the lowest pit,
In darkness, in the depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah
8 You have put away my ac
quaintances far from me;
You have made me an abomination to them;
I am shut up, and I cannot get out;
9 My eye wastes away because of affliction.

LORD, I have called
daily upon You;
I have stretched out my hands to You.
10 Will You work wonders for the dead?
Shall the dead arise and praise You? Selah
11 Shall Your lovingkindness be
declared in the grave?
Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
12 Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?
And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But to You I have cried out, O LORD,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
14 LORD, why do You cast off my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
15 I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth;
I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught.
16 Your fierce wrath has gone over me;
Your terrors have c
ut me off.
17 They came around me all day long like water;
They engulfed me altogether.
18 Loved one and friend You have put far from me,
And my acquaintances into darkness.

The journey begins again for our family. Chris is the most incredible person I have ever met. She sings like an angel and is more competitive than any athlete I have ever coached. My wife is the best cook and can make a gourmet meal without a single recipe. Chris is a beautiful servant, as a high school counselor, as she puts her students above herself daily. She is my inspiration as a parent, as she shows unconditional love for our children and grandchildren. Her outward beauty is breath-taking but her inner qualities astound me. I have always been astounded that she chose to marry me (her Dad feels the same.)

Chris and I are often teased how we do almost everything together. We will now change roles on a race we have run before. While the news is grim at the time, we have many things on our side. The tumor is small and Chris is young and in good health. We already have a team of cancer doctors & nurses who are ready to lead us through the next leg of the race. We serve a powerful God, who is our healer!

Chris will have surgery next week. We will go to our oncologist to develop the game plan. Please pray! Pray that I will be strong enough for Chris, but weak enough to trust my Father. Pray for our children! This is not new to them, but it still hurts. Ryan, Amanda, Derick, and our grandsons, Ryland & Rance are in Maryland. Distance is tough. Kati & Callie are in college at UNT in Denton. Our parents and siblings are suffering with us again.


Anonymous said...

I will share. Just like Chris, my cancer was found on the mammogram. The mass was so small that the doctor said he almost let it slide.
When I was told the news, I left the office, and I was not in tears, but like you, I ranted to God because Benny and I had raised the kids and now had some time for ourselves.
I have watched you in your journey, and marveled at your comeback and testimony.
More than once we have talked about how we would rather it be us to fight this fight than anyone else in our family. I know, and you know that you can with God's help handle your cancer.
Now you are where Chris was when it was you. Somehow we let God handle our problems, but when it is someone we love, we want to help Him. I know God has poured that "Amazing Grace" on both you and Chris. Don't understand it, but the great thing is I don't have to, I just know it is there.
I also love a God that lets his children get upset. He wants us to express all our feelings because he knows them anyway.
Psalms 88 expresses the lowest of low times. The only other time I felt lower than cancer was Oct. 18, 1982 when I was told my third son would have problems throughout his life. Those were my darkest days, but I wouldn't be the person that I am today had I not had Ben.
Last week in sunday school, we studied Lamentations 3 and how Jeremiah wept for his condition and the condition of the Israelites after Jerusalem was destroyed. For some reason, the lesson didn't cover Lam. 3:22-26.
vs 22"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
vs 23 They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness,"
Isn't it great when we don't feel faithful, he is faithful to us. What a GOD.
All cancers are different with different journeys, but we serve the same God in every journey.
I love you guys.

Haley Hawthorne said...

My heart breaks for you guys. Know that you will be covered in prayer from all over the world (particularly Europe) as I have called on MY prayer warriors too. Our God is too big to understand why, but so big that we can be confident that He has a plan. A. REALLY. GREAT. PLAN. Awesome really. I will pray for calm in the storm and joy in Him despite joyless circumstances.