"He has cancer, and it is spreading." It was dark out, and we had just gotten back into town, jumping from subject to subject as females typically do. I never knew this man well, but for some reason, the circumstances stirred something in me. I thought back to my childhood; back to when things were normal (or at least in a child's eyes), and back to when his body was healed and times weren't so harsh.
Did you know you would have cancer?
Obviously, we cannot humanly get a glimpse into our future, but I wonder what would happen if in our pasts, we knew what would happen to us. We are blissfully naive in the days before the storm. For all we know, the bodies we carry and the lives we live will thrive in sync and achieve the happily ever after we have pictured. Humans do not have the power to see what lies ahead. We cannot determine brokenness in our bodies, our final days, terrors of the world, or any outcome to the life each of us lives.
It often reminds me - the good guys don't always win.
Though there are also other reasons, perhaps this is why I hate watching most movies. Yes, there is tragedy; yes, some things apply to reality, but there is always a hero of some sort. Whether they're wearing spandex and a cape or jeans and a t-shirt, everything ends up resolved, the guy always gets the girl, the villain is defeated, the friendship is healed, and the good guy always wins.
But that's just not how life works. We live in a broken world filled with evil and tragedy and terror and disappointment. The good guys don't always win, and if we're being honest with ourselves, it's often the villain. While we certainly like to imagine good endings in this life, the truth is this: A last breath is taken. Painful words devour the last ounce of self-esteem. The divorce papers are signed. The mirror becomes a liar. The dreaded call comes. Depression becomes death. The body is disease ridden. There is injustice. You spill yourself on the floor and can't stop crying. Society seems to surely be falling a part. In these times, I can't help but think, "Lord, please, not again." It's hard being human, and especially hard when the mind becomes weary from the fate of man.
I don't have an entire, elaborate paragraph to give some redeeming conclusion as I often do. My words are kept short this time. We live in a fallen world, and all I can say, in the words of a favorite artist of mine, is this:
"So if I stand let me stand on the promise
That you will pull me through
And if I can't, let me fall on the grace
That first brought me to You."
And if the good guys don't win here, because of grace and mercy, there is One who always will.
...Though our happily ever after might not be in this lifetime, we can anticipate one to come.
Gripping my arms tightly, they pulled me back. "You stupid girl." My feet barely felt escape. I thought I was strong enough, but I wasn't. The neatly packed bags slipped from my grasp and tumbled onto the cold floor. I was too weak, too vulnerable, too innocent to retreat. There they go. All of my dreams, hopes, wishes - gone. Perhaps I should have gone without a word; kept to myself. Perhaps it should have been a secret I only shared with myself. I should have spoken silence. I couldn't break their painful grip. Please, let me go. Let me experience freedom. Let me run away. My body was scarred and weary. My feet gave way, my bones ached a terrible ache, and their words poisoned my veins. I hid. I found an empty room. I thought that hiding and wallowing in silence would wash away the pain. A film of loneliness settled in. Dusk transitioned into nightfall, and I saw the bite of bitter come my way. Just run. Go. Finding my balance, I gathered the spilt belongings. There they were - every dream, every hope, every wish. I carefully placed them in my bags. I searched around. Not a soul was in sight in that cold, empty room. My heart beat faster, breath deeper, determination stronger, and I picked up those bags.
There it was. The door. The opening. The exit for my escape, and the entrance to new beginnings. I was hesitant. Step by step, I got closer and closer. You're almost there. Keep going. I believe in you. As my hand turned the knob, I took one last glance behind. A shadow slowly emerged; another daunting voice threatened. I stiffened, and another bag landed on that cold, hard floor. The footsteps came closer. Was I to hide? No, no, no. I couldn't. I had no choice. I had feet to carry me and a soul that stayed restless, so I had to go on. The street lights would be my guide, the pouring rain would be company, and the wind would carry me. The blood would dry, and the scars would heal. I have to go. I took a deep breath. I could almost taste the fresh air. I could almost feel the warmth on my skin. There was no turning back.
So, I packed my things and ran.
I don't always see hope. I struggle to find it; especially when things go all wrong. When those days creep in, I have an ugly mentality. I don't care to seek the light that is to come, and the days ahead. Little by little though, I am beginning to see it. I can push through the darkness and see and feel and breathe the light ahead. It is there, omnipresent, waiting to be claimed. Though the darkness seems threatening, light is just ahead, eager to lend a hand.
There is hope in the days you feel numb. There is hope in the days your eyes can't stay open and your body is weary. There is hope in the days you are sleep deprived. There is hope in the days your mirror tells you that more rib and thinner thighs will make you feel beautiful again. There is hope in the days you find yourself running for the corner to escape painful, agonizing situations. There is hope in the days when nothing but cruelty stabs you. There is hope in the days haunting memories from the past threaten you. There is hope in the days you feel inferior and weak and ugly. There is hope in the days you are angry and cannot concentrate. There is hope in the days you are bitter and the tears won't stop stinging. There is hope in the days when your mind claims that no one cares about you. There is hope in the days you are misunderstood and accused falsely. There is hope in the days you panic, "Is God real?" There is hope in the days you are laughed at and degraded. There is hope in the days you realize you have been far from God. There is hope in the days your feet can't hold up any longer and you just want to quit. There is hope in the days you try to be your best and the opposite is seen. There is hope in the days you have the tough conversation. There is hope in the days we make mistakes. There is hope in the days you try your hardest, but only the imperfections are seen. There is hope in the days you sink into the cushions, desperately sigh, and think, "I can't do it." There is hope in the days you don't see your life going as you wish. There is hope in the days you throw your hands in the air from frustration. There is hope in the days you lose your phone and then your iPod. There is hope in the days you just don't understand. There is hope in the days you feel like you've wasted your life. There is hope in the days you don't fit someone's approval. There is hope in the days your money goes down the drain. There is hope in the days you feel panic settling in. There is hope in the days you hear that last "Good-Bye". There is hope in the days that friendships crumble. There is hope in the days you no longer remember who you are. There is hope in the days you are confused. There is hope in the days you feel ghostly. There is hope in the days you are paralyzed in fear. There is hope in the days you forget. There is hope in the days your body feels sick and fragile. There is hope in the days you wish you didn't exist and that it could all end. There is hope in the days we see no miracles, and there is hope in the days to come.
Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."