As I was commiserating with my mom on the phone the other day, I made the comment that this situation was "just terrible." And Mom, in her infinite wisdom, said, "Yes, it's terrible - but bearable."
It reminded me of a scripture that I recently read: "And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious, and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more." (Doctrine & Covenants 78:18-19) In other words, the Lord helps make the terrible much more bearable.
The past two days were much more bearable. The circumstances have not changed. I still have this very bad cancer. I am preparing to start chemo and radiation therapy soon. It's an anxious thing to consider. Yet, the ache in my heart has been relieved considerably, and yesterday was a day that was full of small delights and more "tender mercies". (I explained about "tender mercies" in an earlier post.)
One that was especially nice was FINALLY finding my wedding ring. I have the best wedding ring. It's welded to my engagement ring, which is also awesome. I remember when my husband and I were engaged and we shopped together for a ring. We had the engagement ring and weddding ring custom made and they are just so beautiful together. We welded them together after the wedding, so now it is one big chunky ring. One of many delights from my husband. And then I lost it. Could not find it anywhere. I'm terrible about taking it off and leaving it on a ledge or bookshelf or somewhere convenient. I checked all the places where it normally "parks" while I do things that are not ring-compatible (dishes, cooking, changing diapers - whatever), and it was nowhere to be found. The last time I remembered wearing it was at the radiation oncologist's office, where I had to remove some jewelry for the x-ray simulation procedure that they did. I put the jewelry in my purse, and then the next day, at another appointment, my purse fell over and the contents spilled out. Even though I gathered everything back up again, I wondered if my ring might have fallen out and rolled under something. They checked. It hadn't.
For a couple of days I have worn my "death ring". Long, long ago, when I thought death was in the far distance, I bought a simple gold band. It is sometimes worn at times when a big diamond ring was not practical, and I also told my husband that it was what I should be buried in, if and when I ever died. The reason is that I ultimately want my son to have my wonderful wedding/engagement ring for use when he finds his own bride, and even if I were living I would probably give it to him. But then, having surrendered that treasured ring, I didn't want to look "unmarried" in the casket, so I thought a simple gold band would be the appropriate symbol of that relationship that has meant everything to me. So I wore that gold band in the absence of my lost ring, feeling a little shudder about wearing the "death ring" at a time when I want more than anything to live. (Kind of like the red shirt thing that I posted about before.)
As I said my morning prayers yesterday, I sheepishly asked for help in finding my ring. I know it's just a "thing". In the eternal scheme of things, it is insignificant. A material posession. We leave all of these things behind when we go for good. I understand that. But having said that, I explained that it would be one less worry; one less stress at a time when stress needs to be relieved. One more tender mercy to give me even a small measure of relief.
Later, as I was talking with my mom on the phone about tender mercies, I decided to look once again at my bedroom bookshelf, which is one of the places I typically set my ring, my watch, and other commonly worn jewelry when I remove them. Then I thought I should look behind the bookshelf, in case the ring may have somehow fallen there. (One time I did find my ring behind a piece of furniture that I set it on.) Well, in order to look behind the bookshelf I had to move the small ficus tree that was nestled next to the bookshelf. (One that is small enough for me to lift right now.) Still talking on the phone, I picked up the ficus with my other hand, and - VOILA! My ring! It had fallen off the shelf and rolled very close to the base of the tree. Chalk up another tender mercy. A small delight to help me feel happy at an otherwise unhappy time.
The day was full of delights. My husband had the day off. He took care of many errands for me. He even took me SHOPPING! (My favorite extracurricular activity!) And we landed in a store that was having an amazing sale, and I found the exact type of skirt I had been trying in vain to find - and it was marked all the way down to six dollars and change. We had many wonderful times together (as we always do when we're together). I remarked to him that I am just feeling all these wonderful delights, and it really has made my day kind of fun! This was the most cheerful I'd been since my diagnosis. It was a wonderful thing. For a moment, at least, the terrible was definitely bearable.
This morning I felt a little bit of the heartache again. Not as much as before, but just a little. And then after my prayers I was reminded of the hymn, "Be Still, My Soul":
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul, the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul, when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.