Our week has been full of "highlights," blessings that have come in various forms. I am reminded of the statements a minister friend often opened with: "God is good all the time. All the time God is good." So true. Here are our highlights, not neccessarily in order or significance.
The annual Christmas pageant was held at the church Wednesday night. We have a relatively new music director and though he's been in his profession more than twenty years, I'm not sure he"get's it." Our pageant was a worship service that included Scripture readings, choir anthems, congregational hymns and children cast in the roles of Mary, Joseph, angels, etc. You may be thinking that I have described the pattern for most pageants, but there were definitely some variations in the theme. Our grandson, Jacob, thought he was to be a shepherd, but his dad who had put together the order of service, told us ahead of time that the music guy wasn't having shepherds. So when it came time for the shepherds to "abide in the field," there was neither field nor shepherds. We did have lovely angels, Sarah Beth among them, but we never saw her again after she processed down the aisle. The choir surrounded the manger set and was hard to see from the pews. Finally, the kings came. (The script followed tradition, not the accuracey of Scripture.) Down the aisle they came--one taller king, carrying two gifts, and a shorter king whose crown seemed to be held up by his glasses. What a sight! Jacob, the taller, and Drew, the short king knelt before the manger, which, by the way, contained Sarah's life life baby doll as the Christ child. She was happier with the part her doll played than she was about being an angel.
Friends were the source of more than one highlight--long time friends, more recent ones and a new friend too. Tuesday long time friends from Mississippi came and spent several hours with us. The roundtrip drive is more than twice as long as the time they can spend with us, but they come anyway and we take advantage of every minute of their visits. Tommy, Liz and the two younger children joined us for lunch. I love it when friendships span the generations and we are blessed to have some that do just that. Their visit was a real gift. The mail, Fed Ex and UPS have brought greetings and happies from friends accross the country. How wonderful it is to hear from them and to receive expressions of their friendship and thoughtfulness! Yesterday a friend from our church here gave us her day and drove us to Corinth for my treatment. Her doing that for us means even more when I remember that she and her husband are hosting a brunch for our Sunday school class at their house this morning. When I acknowledge that God has given us far more than we have asked or even thought, I am acknowledging that our friends are truly gifts from God and the best friends possible.
Our trip to the neurologist on Monday was productive. Tom gave his take on what's been happening and then it was my turn. The doctor listened. He assured me that the symptoms are not unusal for Tom's illness and that we have not run out of options. We had a thorough discussion of medication--what is appropriate for Tom, what is not. There are different categories of medication for Parkinson's and Tom has been on two categories for some time. A third was added this week and some of those worrysome symptoms have subsided. Dr. M also gave Tom a sleeping tablet that is non-habit forming. That pill, along with the other med has helped us both get hours of uninterrupted sleep this week. I confess I had gotten pretty discouraged with Tom's condition and impatient living with it 24/7. As the week has progressed my focus has been on thankfulness for what can be done rather than complaining about what I see as impossibilities. (I need to go back and read a blog I posted months ago on God being bigger than any impossibility.)
Finally, yesterday I had my second chemo treatment and an appointment with my oncologist. How, you might ask, could that be a highlight? I went in with a few questions, a speech about wanting to know everything and with a throat/chest condition that was similiar to the beginning of the pneumonia of 2006. I learned that my CA125 had doubled between October and November, not unexpected, but not welcome news. And to my questions: "What exactly are we hoping to accomplish with these treatments and what is going on with this cancer? Is the treatment just holding it at bay?" He replied that "holding it at bay" is a good way to put it. Because the cancer has returned they know it is incurable--or as the nurse puts it, "chronic."
Again, he stressed my response to one particular drug and is hopeful/optimistic about my being put back into remission. For how long or how many times, no one knows. The anti-nausea drugs are working better and I was given meds for my throat problem. It's already better this morning. As for me and my reaction to "incurable" and "chronic," I think I'll choose "chronic" over "incurable." Neither what Tom has or what I have is curable--both hang around and both are terminal. I can either choose to live with a chronic illness or die with a terminal one. I choose to live and to live every day to the fullest, enjoying family and friends and witnessing to the faithfulness, the grace and the love of God.
Thanks for sharing our highlights. But I saved the best til last. Knowing that the Light of the World is Jesus puts Light and Life in all our weeks.