It was one of those open-and-shut cases. The cancer sprawled through the belly. The surgeon had searched the cavity deep and wide and found no hope. He shook his head, took a few biopsies, and began the close.
I’d dabbed the patient’s tears from the corners of her eyes and held her hand as she drifted off to sleep. She already knew what they’d find. After I’d wheeled her into the recovery room and given my report, I returned to the surgery suite to help clean up. We went about our business, quiet, except for the banging of basins and rattling of instruments. But the mood soon lifted. We had to get ready for the next case. I don’t remember what– maybe a gallbladder, a tonsillectomy, or a broken hip. Whatever it was, it could be fixed. There was hope.
I poured some fluids down the hopper, deposited some clamps in the sink. (I’m sure decontamination methods have changed since then.)
I don’t remember what made the scrub tech ask as we scuffed back down the hall with masks dangling around our necks, “Why are you always so happy?”
And inside I thought, “What? Are you talking to me?”
“I – I don’t know,” I stammered. “I guess it must be Jesus.”
Since I’ve worked from home, I can’t remember one family member asking me why I’m so happy. They’re more likely to ask, “What’s wrong?” Or even more likely, “What’s wrong with you?”
Like when I slam dishes around in the sink, kick a chair into place, bang a cupboard door, or snap at whoever’s closest.
Like when I announce I just can’t take this mess any more, and can’t people just leave me alone so I can study my Bible or write–my voice raising several decibels a second.
Grandma’s grumpy again.
I know what kind of legacy I hope will remain when I’m gone, but I’m not sure I measure up so well to my memory-maker job description.
It’s harder to be a light within these walls of my daily work where my real is often not so happy than it is to point people to Jesus in a place of “real” work.
My “me-ness” can be a cancer that devours the ones I love most.
In fact, right now I’m dealing with a situation I don’t want to be happy about. One in which I don’t even want healing.
I don’t want to be Jesus in it.
Yet I know He’ll win in the end.
Maybe the way to share my faith in this place is to go ahead and be real. Who says I can’t have a temper tantrum sometimes–as long as I say “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong” when I need to? Isn’t tomorrow a new day?
Besides, who here is going to fire me for a bad attitude?
Anyway, today I’ll sew that button on my husband’s shirt–the one that’s been hanging on the bedroom doorknob for over a week.
I’ll decontaminate my kitchen counter, and I won’t complain.
I’ll wash the dogs and clean the toilet and do another load of laundry–and put it away.
And while I go about my business, I’ll pray for those I know who are dealing with spiritual and physical cancers.
Maybe I’ll even laugh and do a Snoopy spin and bake a batch of cookies.
Because there’s always hope.
In the stillness,
Linking today with The High Calling’s call for stories related to the theme of How to Share Your Faith at Work.