I got to thinking about this about a week ago when I received my daily devotion entitled "How Are You Today?". What struck me the most in this devotion was the first paragraph:
"Pearl was one of the most enthusiastic Christians I’ve known, even though she suffered through the pain of polio and all of its complications for many years. When people would greet her and inquire, "How are you today?" she would cheerfully answer, "Just fine!" Those who knew what Pearl went through in life—difficulties including being confined to a wheelchair and losing her fiancée because of the polio—sometimes questioned her sincerity. "How can you say you're fine when you are suffering so much?" Pearl's sincere response was: "How I feel has very little to do with how I am. You see, the part of me that hurts is just a shell, not the real me, and the real me is just fine!"It really got me thinking about my attitude toward my chemo and my cancer. My standard response lately has been, "I'm ok, just really tired. We just keep going one day at a time." I've been disheartened because I am so tired already, and have already noticed that I don't feel comfortable doing things that I was able to do just a month ago. Chemo-brain has come back with a vengeance. I can't remember names, I loose my train of thought easily and I can get confused by things that made sense before. After almost two years of feeling somewhat normal again, it's been hard accepting that things are going to change again.
Yet, I can say with Pearl, the real me is just fine. This passage from 2 Corinthians tells me why.
Outwardly, my body and parts of my mind are going to increasingly waste away with this chemo. I learned today on a board that the worst part of the chemo is the tiredness. I'm going to have to learn to adjust to that. Of course my confusion at times with chemo-brain will get worse. I will have to be patient with myself and my family will have to learn to be patient with me by not trying to finish my sentences or figure out what I'm trying to say. Yet those parts of me don't really matter. It's my soul that matters, and God is using many things to keep me focused on Him and to make sure I am renewed every day.
This week I was blessed with a great renewal. The Junior Class at Evergreen Lutheran High School was given an assignment to write letters to me encouraging me and my family as we continue in this journey we are on. Most of them don't know me well, even though they know my daughter. These letters could have easily been very simple things that were written, but they weren't. Each letter was written to truly help me. Stories were shared, Bible passages quoted and used, and promises of prayers were given. Each letter renewed my soul. Some made me laugh, others made me cry, but each one was a gift from God to renew me.
Tomorrow I have my next chemo session. Outwardly, because of this, I am wasting away. That's just the way it is for all of us. But these troubles we all face are just light and momentary. One day our shells will be renewed to their perfect glory. Until then, I will be thankful for the many ways that God uses people and His Word to renew my soul. And I can say with confidence "I'm just fine!"