So the countdown has begun; 135 hours until S-day. You can determine if the “S” stands for “Surgery”, “Scared S…” or “Settle-up”, any of them seem to work for me.
On Monday, November 3, I will enter the hallowed halls of Christus Santa Rosa Hospital. Estimated arrival time to the O.R. is 12:30 PM, ( we all know how ambiguous hospital time really is). I hope to leave there with this unwanted visitor completely excised from my recesses; a few ounces lighter.
This past Sunday I attended church and Sunday school. It wasn’t my plan nor was it easy to do. I haven’t felt very well lately and staying in any one position for a prolonged amount of time is uncomfortable. But it was a great Sunday. “Thee Class”, my Bible study group, included good fellowship and a wonderful lesson taught by Joe Gil. Services were also amazing and a true blessing as I listened to Pastor Leslie Hollon deliver God’s powerful message.
I made the decision to go to church after wrestling with my own thoughts in the early hours of Sunday morning. I was feeling as if I had already lost a few ounces, or in literary terms I was feeling a bit like Tootles having lost his marbles. If you are a purest then you know that J.M. Barrie’s Tootles never lost his marbles. It was Spielberg’s version of the story, Hook, which robbed poor Tootles of his marbles.
Early Sunday morning I felt that I too had lost a few marbles. I remembered as a child playing with marbles in the back yard of our home in Oscoda, Michigan. A group of dirty faced boys would draw a circle in the dirt and then challenge each other for ownership of peewees, shooters, creepy crawlers and the coveted steelies. Some days I would add to my marble bag, not so much on other days.
The marbles I lost Sunday morning aren’t tunefully known as peewees or cat-eyes. They have their own monikers-hope, faith and trust. Somewhere along the way I had lost these marbles.
This damned cancer consumes me, monopolizes my thoughts. I listen to the encouraging words of those that have fought their own battles against this sickness; I covet and appreciate them. I carefully do research about this disease, enough to educate but stopping short of entering the realm of morbidity. I have craved knowledge in every corner of my life, there was no reason to act differently now.
I read the prayer-grams sent to me by caring Christian brothers and sisters and recall the days when it was I who was sending words of supplication out to the sufferer. I know the letters I received were written from the heart with the love of Christ.
Yet the dark thoughts would not subside.
Early Sunday morning I walked out onto my back porch and looked up to the heavens and I told God, “I have lost my marbles. Tell me where they are. Tell me where You are!”
“Go to church.” A simple reply.
And so I did.
I waited until this evening to share this story with you because I departed church Sunday the same way I had walked in, having lost my marbles. But like Tootles I will not give up my relentless search for them. You see because I know they are still there. If I close my eyes I can see them. Their appearance is the same as it was on the day that God gave them to me as a gift, a gift of hope, faith and trust. A gift that will last a lifetime, a gift that can never really be lost…only misplaced.
Tootles encourages me. It seems a bit strange that I would gain reassurance from a fictional character when I am surrounded by real people who truly care. But sometimes we all need to be like a child in order to feel His arms around us.
Here’s to Monday, and seeing Tuesday. (And finding a lost bag of marbles!)