On the Monday after Easter Sofija learned to ride her bike. In typical Sofija fashion, she never fell and she required very little guidance. She simply got on and started pedaling. The only glitch in her learning curve came when she would brake by pedaling backwards….. which she did quite often. After three or four episodes of coming to a screeching halt she got off the bike, threw it to the ground, raised her open palms to just above her waist, and screamed, “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?” Before I could laugh the thought ran through my head, “Oh, Lord! She’s been listening to me pray.”
On Saturday, April 21st, my grandmother (MawMaw) was buried. Well, technically not buried. She’s in a mausoleum. Her husband (my PawPaw) died in 1995. Her only child (my Mama) died in 2006. That means, at age 40, I am now the oldest member of that branch of my family. I gotta say. It’s kinda weird. In some ways I feel like the biggest flippin’ grownup on the planet and in other ways I feel like a very vulnerable little girl. I’m not quite sure why I feel the need to share that, but it’s one of those things that keeps rolling around in my head and I guess I’m just running out of head-space.
MawMaw actually passed away at 9:28am central time on April 16th. The 17th was filled with packing and planning and preparing for our twelve hundred mile (each way) journey. I had been told by my endocrinologist that I would receive the results from my cancer scans on April 16th. So… I paused my breathing and developed a lump in my throat with each and every phone call I received on the 16th and 17th. Do you have a large extended family? Have you ever lost a member of that large extended family? You get A LOT of phone calls. Unfortunately, none of them were from my doctor or his nurse. As we finished loading up our luggage around dinner time on the 17th, I sent a quick email to both my endo and his nurse informing them that I would be traveling for the week. It sucked to think that I may have to wait until after MawMaw’s funeral to know my test results and I can’t honestly say I was dealing with the
fear uncertainty very well.
Really, God? I just lost my grandmother AND I have to travel to Louisiana and then back to Virginia and wait another week to know if I’m still cancer-free? If I weren’t so flippin’ emotionally worn out already I probably would have thrown my hands up and screamed, “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?”
On the morning of the 18th, somewhere in north Alabama or southeast Tennessee, I had a little chat with God. As I began to plead my case with Him, I heard him say, “Remember Sofija and the bike? I’m your bicycle. I need you to just keep pedaling forward. Stop hitting the brakes and then blaming it on me when your life comes to a screeching halt.” Gee thanks, God. I was kinda looking for a little pity. You could have easily said, “It’s okay, Kaci. I’ve got this. You can just stop functioning for a little while and I’ll still make sure you achieve every single dream I’ve put in your heart without any effort on your part.” But, no. I got the “keep pedaling” speech.
Within minutes of my acceptance that every single fulfilling moment or period of growth in my life has resulted from enduring the tough stuff, I got a phone call. I saw that it was from Walter Reed Army Hospital, but I lost my cell phone signal before I could answer it. As soon as I had two bars again, I had a voice-message from my doctor. It went something like this, “…. All your scans are clean and your non-stimulated and stimulated thyroglobulin (tumor marker) are both undetectable.” Interpretation = I’m still CANCER-FREE!! Go God!! The cherry on that sundae is that I got the news on the 18th. I have a thing for the number 18.
I’m not going to lie. Although it was quite a relief, the good news did very little to cheer me up. MawMaw was one of my very best friends. My other-Mama. She was my biggest cheerleader. My real-life source of unconditional love and unending grace. I miss her. Terribly. Seeing the empty case that housed her spirit and soul for eighty-five years was painful. She’s really gone and I’m quite certain that I have a long way to go in the mourning process. But you know what? I know what the answer to Sofija’s question is. I know what my God wants from me. He just wants me to keep moving forward.
If you can list a reason for being dys/non-functional, I could probably check the box next to it. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt to prove it. But excuses don’t count. God’s truth does. And His truth says…..
2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
So…. I guess I’ll just keep pedaling.