This will be long, but it HAS been a while.
It has been quite a week.
We managed to over-schedule ourselves again; we have a hard time saying ‘no’, and the things we signed up for, individually, are no big deal. But together, they just about killed us earlier this week.
Of course, I’m doing the blog-a-thon, and I’ve been scrambling this week to put together enough posts to meet the required 24.
This is VBS week at church. There are a few ‘big things’ our church’s children’s ministry does throughout the year, and this is one of them. Lintilla and I have become associated with the 4th and 5th grade kids (we’ll be teaching a new group on Wednesday nights next year), and we volunteered to shepherd these kids through VBS.
This group of kids is incredibly bright, and problematic at the same time. They are 95% boys. A good number are ADHD (or at least they act that way), and their age means that normal VBS activities are too childish for them. So, we adopted a curriculum that takes them out of the normal VBS activities, and involves them in “service” – little mini-missions (More on that later).
So, this past weekend, we had family activities planned (some of them fun!); that meant that household chores had to be put off. Monday and Tuesday, I worked my butt off getting the house clean, doing the laundry, getting groceries, mowing the lawn. I knew that starting Wednesday, there would be no time for any of that. Our days, through Saturday, would be packed morning-to-bedtime.
And then came Wednesday.
After work, Lintilla and I had to meet with her doctor (the urologist this time). A few weeks earlier, the oncologist had found a “spot” on her kidney. We weren’t sure what it was, so we kept quiet about it. But I had a good idea what to expect when the doctor asked me to come in with Lintilla for the consultation.
The doctor took forever to see us (don’t get me started about that), so we were already running late. She told us that Lintilla had a small tumor – something called Renal Cell Carcinoma. It wasn’t related to the tumor she had last year.
There is a surgery to remove it, that involves cameras, robotics, and all kinds of high-tech stuff, and it is 93% effective (the tumor does not return). The doctor does not want to perform the surgery right now (neither do we). She wants to look at it again in Aug/Sep, and, in her words, “the tumor will tell us what to do.” If it has grown, we’ll schedule surgery soon thereafter. If not, we’ll wait till early next year, because she just had another major surgery this past December, and I’d rather not her have to go through two painful Christmases in a row.
Both of us are just a little weary right now. So, if we can wait, and no harm come of it, we’ll wait.
So, in the middle of the consult, Lintilla notices it’s after 5, and I have to pick up the kids in Bellevue at 5:30, or they’ll get taken back to Camp Renaissance in Dickson and I’ll have to pay a fortune. So, I rush out to Bellevue, and barely make it in time. (One thing I learned delivering pizzas – driving smart routes is infinitely more useful than driving fast).
The kids are now upset that I can’t feed them – I have to take them directly to VBS at church. We do get there about 5 minutes before the start of VBS, and wolf down some food the director generously saved for us, then get to the proceedings.
I can’t begin to tell you how awfully the children (all of them, not just mine) behaved. The first night of VBS, in this curriculum, is supposed to be a time of learning just what service is. But there are no activities, and I think this was a mistake. It was simply chaos. We never really got them under control, and Lintilla at one point lost her temper and yelled at them (fun VBS, huh?)
Then we had to stick around and make sure every kid (in all levels) left with a parent. We got home at 9 and crashed, exhausted.
Then yesterday, things started to turn. Work, for me has actually been light this week, so at least I have that going for me. Lintilla’s boss let her shift some patients around so she could leave early yesterday and today and have unwind time before VBS.
For VBS, we took the kids to a nursing home to serve ice cream and cookies and visit. Y’all – it was such a turnaround, it was just incredible. To see these kids – the ones who had been totally incorrigible the day before – display a warmth and tenderness toward Alzheimer’s patients, well, it brought a tear to my eye. I’ve dealt with Alzheimer’s patients before; many times they can’t speak back, but the look in their eyes tells you how they feel.
They were beaming. Perhaps the presence of the children kindled feelings for their own kids and grandkids. It was quite a sight to see.
Today, I am somewhat more at peace. Plugging into that awesome love of God will do that. Yes, there will be upheaval in the coming months, but we’ve become old pros at living through upheaval. And we have an incredible network of friends who are eager and willing to help.
Having a spouse go through cancer surgery is like single parenthood – plus . You have the short-term pressures of single-parenthood (the household still has to be run), plus a spouse that needs looking after, along with the added worry of navigating our archaic health insurance system. It can be a lot of worry.
But, Jesus says “Do not worry”, so, dadgummit, I will not worry. It’s going to be all right. It’s going to be better than all right.
Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. He will turn our sorrow into dance. The words of my favorite Psalm are always there to comfort. Soon, I’ll be dancing a jig.
I do not know, specifically, how we will get through all of this, but I know we will get through it. I don’t *believe* it, I *know* it.
Lintilla, as usual, has a great attitude about all of this. She prefers to deal with things by diving into distracting activities, so that’s what we’re doing. (My only regret is that we haven’t had time to sit, absorb, and talk about what all of this means)
Tonight, we take the VBS kids to cook and serve dinner for the folks at the Ronald McDonald house. Now that they are getting this service thing down, I have faith that it will go well. I will have my eyes open, looking for God.
I also have some stuff going on at work that might be very, very good. Do I dare summon up the courage to switch departments and start all over again at my age? We’ll see.
I know, I know. It would be much better if I posted short, one subject posts every day instead on one giant post every couple of weeks. What can I say? I’ve been BUSY.