13 Aug

The counts were too low.

Round postponed.

Now everything is shoved forward a week, and then we’ll try again. Is it disappointment at the delay that registers?

Not so much.


That’s what sweeps over me at the postponement of the ninth round of chemo. Two weeks in a row of feeling relatively normal. Can’t for the life of me recall what that’s like. I’ll enjoy remembering. Questions regarding the post-chemo path. CAT scan afterward, then another in six months, and another in six months, etc. Pill-cams, CAT scans, and scopings. The settling realization that this path doesn’t terminate after four more rounds. The road simply bends. No rush in removing the port. Will still come in handy. Any sentiment that by removing it I am closing this chapter in my life evaporates like a morning mist. The reality: I don’t close this chapter of my life or any chapter of my life for the very simple reason that I’m not ultimately writing the story.

Time. Chance. Divine purposes. How exactly these dance together at the intersection of my life is a wondrous, frustrating mystery to me. But I very clearly am not playing the tune. There’s no life jukebox into which I can deposit my quarters and make my selection. I can only choose how to respond to the tune that plays. Pauses. And plays.

Is this fatalism?

Perhaps. But it feels more like the simple reality of what is. Period.

Monday will come and then we’ll try again. In the meantime there’s a week full of life and energy to receive. At least I think that’s the tune that just queued up. And now that I’ll be awake this week I evidently can officiate at the funeral of a four-year-old who drowned this past weekend.


There’s always another horror story unfolding close by that makes whatever personal trials I am experiencing seem like a waltz.

He taps my shoulder, and in a moment moves me from dance to dirge.

Does he even pick the songs? Does he choose or compose these dreadful tunes? Does he draw these wretched lines?

Does he grapple with time and chance and his own purposes even as we do?

Is he ever lost for words at the inexplicability of a groaning world, like we are? A world that, like Rachel, sits, weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more?

And in the midst of my own reprieve, I find no tidy explanation –no tidy way to even pull together these rambling thoughts with a fitting flourish.

Sometimes, like our unfolding stories, our words are just left dangling over a reality that defies comprehension.


Embracing the reprieves when they come.

And turning to see just what it is that’s tapping on our shoulder next…


Posted by on August 13, 2012 in musings, Suffering


Tags: , ,

9 responses to “Reprieve

  1. Jennifer Stuart

    August 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    “There’s no life jukebox into which I can deposit my quarters and make my selection. I can only choose how to respond to the tune that plays. ” I love that. I have been seeing a similar theme in many things lately. It makes so much sense and seems to be the mindset that gives one the most power over their choices because if you spend too much time trying to change the song, you really get nowhere.

  2. wordhaver

    August 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Thanks Jennifer – your thoughtful feedback always blesses me! 🙂

  3. birgitph

    August 14, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Oh Mike, not sure I feel relieved that you get another good week or disappointed that this stretches things out even more. Praying that God may be bathing you in his deep kindness and tender mercies as you minster to that devastated family, so that some of if may overflow into their lives as well.

  4. Lynn

    August 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Mike, I just stumbled upon your blog … wow! Thank you for sharing your journey … you inspire me. Praying.

  5. wordhaver

    August 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks Birgit! I was briefly caught in the same quandry, but decided immediately to embrace the reprieve. Still doing so this morning. Nice to wake up today without the pump! Yes, I could get used to this… 🙂

  6. wordhaver

    August 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks, Lynn! Glad the sharing is a blessing to you 🙂

  7. Iris Gallegos

    August 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    What a wonderful wordsmith you are in relating how we move toward that peace that passes all understanding.

  8. wordhaver

    August 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks Lisa!

  9. wordhaver

    August 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks, Iris!


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