“I’ve got this burning, burning, yearning feeling inside me, Ooh deep inside me” I croon as I head into the hem-onc lab, then to my provider and last the infusion room. “Name, date of birth” is the constant refrain to which I reply, “Julia Burns, 1-28-57.” Glad for this repetitive and impersonal ID check which will keep me from getting someone else’s medicine and them mine.
By the time my saline bag was hung last time I was sobbing. A four hour delay had exhausted me. And as a baby hovered on the TV screen in the next stall, my eyes filled with tears and then flowed over. “I don’t want you to have a baby without me,” I cried to her. “I want to do for you what Dot Dot did for me. Clean your kitchen, cook for you, get up in the middle of the night and change diapers and hand you your baby for feeding. Please let me hold your babies,” I implored my daughter.
It’s odd but when the gauntlet fell and the verdict came in guilty, the first thing I thought after praising God for my convertible and yes, that Momma was dead and would miss this, was I don’t think I’ll be able to take the waiting. The waiting in the waiting rooms with all those people. Remember, I’m the one that likes to paint alone, garden alone, read alone, work alone, walk alone. Sadly, if my life has taught me anything, it’s that I am safe alone and sometimes not so safe with other people. The waiting rooms will do me in, I worried. I’m sensitive. But not so, because when it happened, that endless four hour wait while the new computer system stalled, I stood up to it. I took it. Happily no, but it didn’t do me in either. And as this path has shown, I can tolerate cancer, chemo, sharp stabbing pains in my breast, and side effects galore but I can also tolerate waiting rooms with fifty people. Noise canceling head phones help a lot but I made it.
So what is this burning, burning, yearning feeling inside me? This quest for why, why me, why now, why not choose somebody else God? My friend told me to pray like Emmet Fox, pray as if I am a beautiful, whole healed child of God. Clean and healthy, free of disease and filled with the light of the Holy Spirit, leaping into my future. “Believe that you will be healed and embrace it. Then it will happen,” Fox boasts. My response was “I was doing that every day. Already.”
My prayer group has helped with both pain and courage.They remind me to experience my healing as fulfilled, to know that soon I will be cancer free, playing tennis, doing yoga, painting and creating again, living a life filled with health and vitality. But I say, “I can’t get a read on this one.” “Do you have someone that does believe? That carries this affirmation for you?” And my simple answer is “Yes, almost everyone I know.” “That will do,” they respond with love.
I can’t help but ask if believing I will be healed and I do believe that I will be or can be, that if God’s power is infinite and does include lifting this plague, then how come it happened in the first place? If I affirmed my place as a child of Hers, living freely in the light, healthy and whole, my body a temple, then why put me in these waiting rooms for hours, standing in the que with dozens of others stricken with similar plagues. I wonder, don’t you? How could we not?
Another friend admonishes, “it doesn’t matter how or why it happened, the need now is to trust and obey.” “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways.” And so I wait patiently in line, sitting now while others get called for their labs but not me and they ask me for the third time today, “Ms. Burns, do you have a port?” And my husband turns to me and says how can they not know that by now?” And then to them, “You know she is a doctor?” Embarrassing me in his love and pride again, his determination that they better handle this precious package with care.
I’ve got this yearning burning burning deep down inside me. Believe for me please while I have a hitch in my faith. Remember I’m the one that believed for you.
Please mark that I’m the one that refused underwire bras because it stilted the flow of lymph, massaging my breasts weekly if not daily for circulation and even hush don’t tell a soul, talked to them, telling them how proud I was of them, how grateful I was that they nourished three beautiful children, boosting their immune system, protecting them from leukemia and me from breast cancer. Truly I believed so much that when my breast got hot, red and swollen, the only thing that crossed my mind was mastitis, never cancer, until that day they told me differently.
As I ponder my faith and the possibility of altering my fate by what I think and believe, I project an image of myself holding my daughter’s daughter in my arms and rocking her in their baby chair. Watching my daughter nursing sublimely. Filling a glass that I drank from as a child, I envision my grandchildren sitting beside me, lifting it to their lips.This comes clearly as on a TV screen. Giving casting lessons, fishing in the creek out back, my grandchildren clamoring around, begging to have a try. My children’s children.
Turning to my devotional this morning I hear echoing throughout the cancer center, “Lazarus come out.” Come out indeed. My own reverberation of this timely and poignant story uprights both my thinking and faith, reminding me that Christ is the great healer. “Unbind her and let her go. I say this for the sake of the crowd standing there so that they may believe that you sent me.” Even then as always, Jesus knew that he did not need to implore the Father because He always listens. And I know that too. Nonetheless I will implore Him for strength and courage, renewed health and even tolerance of four hour waits in waiting rooms. He has already heard and answered our prayers, our story written before time created. Praying again and over that the script although complete can be altered by petitions. I am sure you remember, Lazarus did come out as Jesus expected.