Today has been unusually difficult for me. Perhaps, a valley in the desert.
It started out wonderful. I awoke to the sweet sounds of Logan and Wyatt, my little grandsons visiting from Jacksonville. I watched them smear pancake syrup all over their little faces and play out on the back porch, trying to catch lizards. Then they left to spend the day at Disney while I went to radiation. My heart tugged as they pulled out of the driveway, wishing I was able to go with them.
I went for radiation. When I was finished, Carl and I walked across the street to the NICU, where I work, for a visit. As I walked into the unit, I first noticed our cavitron (traveling isolette), with a baby in it, preparing to go for surgery. A tug at my heart. Walking further, I watched a couple of our neonatologists busy writing orders for their tiny patients. I looked into the many rooms housing our sick babies and watched the nurses and respiratory therapists all busy taking care of their little ones. My heart tugged again, wishing I could be there working with them. We knocked on Ann's door and she was busy, but she stopped what she was doing, as she always does, and acted as though she had nothing else on her agenda. We enjoyed a short visit and as we left the NICU, I once again watched the staff at work with the babies. Nothing here has changed, I thought. Life goes on in the NICU as it always has and always will. Life goes on all around me, as it always has and always will.
And my heart ached. Oh how I wish for normalcy back in my life! To be able to be at work and have the energy to take care of my babies. To go to Disney with my daughter and grandsons. To walk around without a scarf and hat in the 100 degree weather. A day that involves more than laying on a cold radiation table and going home for a nap. As I walked to the car, I looked across the street at MD Anderson and wondered. I thought about my friend, who has just discovered that her cancer has come back. Even after treatment ended, would my life ever be back to normal? A life without doctors and needles and tests and treatments? Would I have to do this all over again one day?
We came home and Carl left for the church. Holly and the boys are still at Disney. I am alone in the house. I prayed. "Lord, is this how it's always going to be for me? Will my life ever be normal again?" I opened my bible to the Psalms where I find comfort in times like this. I read. I sat in silence waiting for Him. And He provided me with the very words that spoke to my heart. "For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help." (Psalms 22:24). "Thank you Lord" I prayed. "Thank you for listening to my cry for help. I thank you that you do not hide your face from me. Even in the midst of my cries."
As I prayed, I was led to the next Psalm. It is the 23rd Psalm, one of the most beloved. One I have recited over and over again since I was a child. But today, it brought me comfort that I so needed.
"The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul."
And for now, I will sit with Him. In the quiet of His presence. Knowing that by drawing unto Him in my moments of discouragement, He will indeed "restore my soul".