Thursday morning I was having a rough start to my day. Tears fell while wrestling with a decision, combatting confusion, dwelling on life's disappointments, all struggles that were compounded by neglected quiet time, if the truth be told.
Early that afternoon once I finished my work for the morning I pulled myself together and readied myself to pick up the kiddos from school. Finally dressed in something other than sweats and with reapplied makeup I got in my car to leave home when I remembered I'd need more gas if I didn't want to find myself stranded along the road...and I'm not into hitch-hiking.
Sunshine filled the sky that day accompanied by near-summer temperatures. "Something to be thankful for," I thought.
As I pulled into the MAPCO near home the back of a man pumping gas caught my eye, causing me to press on the brakes to get a closer look. My eyes remained fixated on him as the tears began welling up again.
That man. His hair color and cut. His height. His build. His stance. His dark-colored plaid shirt and jeans. EVERYTHING about that man looked like my dad who passed away four years ago. I mean EVERYTHING. I slowly pulled toward the pump next to him in disbelief with an intensified desire to speak with Dad. He'd know how to brighten my day with the right words and a warm, fatherly hug.
As I began pumping my own gas, I peered through the side windows of his empty, black, 15-passenger van trying to get a better look. "Does his face look like my dad's too?" I wondered. After eyeballing him for incredibly too long I decided to walk over to him and say hello.
"Hey!" I said. "Sorry if you felt me staring at you, but I couldn't help but notice you look like my dad who passed away a few years ago. I just needed to get a better glimpse of you and say hi."
He gently smiled, like my dad would have done, as I proceeded to tell him that he was obviously younger than my dad but the resemblance was still remarkable. I'm sure he felt some relief that I didn't think he was old enough for me to be his offspring. Though I found out technically he was.
"You know," he slowly began to respond, "I'm sixty-eight now, but my dad passed away when I was twenty." He choked up a little at those words before continuing. "And I was angry at God for many years for taking my dad at such a young age. Then one day I took a close look at 2 Peter 3:8. Do you know what it says?" he asked.
Beloved, do not let this one thing escape your notice: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. ~ 2 Peter 3:8
He quoted the preceding passage then asked if I was a Christian. I told him, "Yes" as he whipped out his iPhone and opened up his calculator app.
"How many years would be a good life to you?" he asked me.
Had he only known the way I felt in that moment, that I could drop dead at any minute and not care, he probably wouldn't have asked. But I mustered a grin and simply said I had lived a fulfilling life and wasn't sure. "Give me a number," he insisted.
"Another thirty years would be great," I reluctantly replied.
He then started plugging in numbers...30 divided by 1,000 multiplied by 24 plus ??? I started getting lost in his calculations. I'm not a numbers person.
"Look at this!" he joyfully exclaimed. "According to this, you'll see your dad in about 45 minutes based on Heaven's time. Have you ever thought of that?"
Well, yes, I've considered that with God there is no time and whether we die at age 8 or 80 it's a nano second compared to eternity. But I had never looked at it in light of a literal interpretation of 2Peter.
"Your dad is going to turn around and say, 'Oh, there you are!' as if you've only been out of his sight for a short while."
I thanked him for that perspective, telling him how happy I was that I had gotten to meet him then returned to my car with his words still whirling around in my head.
As I drove away there was something about that encounter that seemed Divine. I appreciated his message, that I would see Dad soon. But I think the more valuable lesson for me that I needed to hear that beautiful afternoon was that our time here is so short and that I really need to cherish it. To live like I'm going to see my dads - both my earthly and heavenly ones - in 45 minutes. To allow myself to wallow in sadness is a waste of precious time when I have so many things to be grateful for and to live for. Not sure why I need to be reminded that life is a gift, but sometimes I do. And I was thankful for the reminder that came from a total stranger that day.
After I drove off, I thought I should have snapped a picture of him - at least from behind - and glanced at his license plate. It probably said ANGL1 or HVN-SNT or something to that effect. You never know. One thing I do know is God intervenes in ways only He can when we most need Him.
Oh, and if you're wondering, the man's face slightly resembled my dad's. What are the chances?
I can't believe the last time I blogged was more than two weeks ago.
Well, considering my last couple of weeks, Oh YES...oh, yes, I can.
On the surface, this will appear to be one big whine fest, but please keep reading because my intent is for God's goodness to come shining through the dark clouds that have followed me since I last wrote.
Monday, November 6th, I was trying to complete my work for the following day because I had my annual mammogram scheduled. Mammograms don't take that long, but just in case there was a repeat of last year, requiring a follow-up ultrasound, I wanted to ensure my day was completely open.
I was plugging along when I received a call from the counselor at one of my children's school. I was told that my child (who I won't mention here by name) had written a letter indicating that she didn't want her life to continue and that I needed to come get her as soon as possible. When I got to the school and read what she wrote my heart sank...then broke a little...then sank some more. It caught me off guard because we all had experienced such a nice weekend. Here we are bike riding that Sunday.
This wasn't the first time that my child who suffers from depression had suggested this world would be better without her in it. Having a child who suffers emotionally has got to be the most painful aspect of parenting that could possibly exist and when I'm forced to deal with one of these episodes a huge chunk of my life shuts down. The pain is so great that I don't want to function beyond what is necessary and I worry about what the future may hold in store. Then I ask myself if I truly believe what I wrote in Joy Is Contagious...Cancer Isn't:
"We really can trust the One who put the stars into place and knew us before we were born with our diagnosis. And with tough decisions. And with our treatment. And with their unpleasant side effects. And with our emotions. And with our future. And with our family’s future. We can trust Him with everything, for He’s the Lord of all and is over all..." ~ Ch. 11 in Joy Is Contagious...Cancer Isn't by Kim Tisor
Do I believe that? Do I really? The answer is, I do. I may have to remind myself of those truths, but I honestly believe that God is GOOD and can't be anything other than that and that He loves my daughter and the rest of my family members more than I do.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite." ~ Psalm 147: 3-5
If the Lord has given names to the stars, He certainly knows my daughter by name and has the ability to heal her broken heart and mine. As a matter of fact, He's the only one that has the power to do that. Time may help. Medication may help. Counseling may help. A proper diet may help. Lots of love and understanding may help. But only God has the ability to completely heal our brokenness. I pray that He chooses to do that in my daughter's life.
That same night I had picked up my child early from school I had plans to attend a Christian women's event nearly 40 miles away. My heart was so downcast that I thought I should probably just stay home, but then I considered maybe the evening would do my heart good, so I headed out the door into the dark, drizzly night. I looked forward to meeting the speaker who was traveling from MN because she and I had conversed via email several times. Her name is Judy Hehr and she was going to be a guest on my podcast...when I had one. (I stopped recording it about a year ago when I received my breast cancer diagnosis.) Judy appears to be a bit of a firecracker, and like me, has her own radio show, so I knew we'd hit it off in person as well as we had in our email messages.
When I arrived at the church where she was to speak the church was locked up like Houdini before one of his dramatic escapes. Eventually a man exited the church and told me the event had been cancelled due to some transportation issues. Viewing the city streets' Christmas lights abated some of my disappointment as I began my drive home in silence.
Just to quickly let you know how the rest of that week unfolded, Wednesday morning my husband called me at home to let me know that a mutual friend had passed away. I didn't even know she had been ill. Then that afternoon as I drove to pick up my kids from school my car's engine overheated. An oncoming driver flashed his lights at me (I assumed there was a cop up ahead) just before my "Check Gauges" light came on. It then began to flash. Then it changed to "Engine Overheated" as warning sounds started blaring. I managed to call a friend who picked up my kids as I turned the vehicle around. The sounds got louder then my car informed me that it was powering down. I managed to coast within a couple miles of home and walked the rest of the way. That was not the day to leave my warm coat and bra at home.
The chilly air felt good to my lungs as I walked home, wanting to cry but with no tears left to shed. I decided it wasn't the time to cry anyway because I truly had a lot to be thankful for and began mentally listing my blessings. I was thankful that I had made it to the edge of my neighborhood and was no longer on a busy road. I was thankful that my friend answered her phone and could pick up my kids. I was thankful that my legs weren't hurting, because sometimes the Tamoxifen I take for cancer causes a pain deep in my left leg. I was thankful that it wasn't snowing or raining. I was extremely thankful that my car hadn't broken down along the highway the Monday night I traveled to a nearby town to hear the no-show speaker. I was thankful that my daughter seemed to be in a better place emotionally. I was thankful that I didn't have my warm coat afterall because I was starting to heat up while walking home. I still would have liked my bra, but oh well.
I'm not sure why that driver flashed his lights at me. I'm guessing he either saw smoke billowing from my hood or there were flames shooting out the front of my car. Not sure which, but he got my attention.
The following week I had an appointment with my oncologist - nothing new to share there - and my OBGYN. He asked if I had considered having my ovaries removed, since my cancer is estrogen driven. AND if we were going to remove my ovaries then may as well remove the uterus, since Tamoxifen is associated with uterine cancer. He told me to think about it and he would talk to my oncologist. Not sure why, but something about that appointment caused my anxiety to increase over the following week. Perhaps the thought of having to make another decision regarding my health and having another surgery was more than I wanted to deal with considering the previous week.
Then Saturday morning rolled around and my husband told me to get dressed, that he wasn't feeling right and he thought he needed to see a doctor, i.e. a trip to the ER, because he thought he was having a heart attack. I took his blood pressure which was elevated, so I quickly got ready and drove him to the hospital. Thankfully, the EKG indicated his heart was fine. He was told he probably had a virus that was causing his vertigo and nausea. Whew!
Three days later I ran through the drive-thru to pick up something for Randy and our son, who was home sick. As I sat in line my heart was heavy thinking of the weeks' previous events, and how just the day before my dad would have been 74 had complications from surgery not taken him from this life several years ago. My heart ached. And wouldn't you know when I pulled up to pay for my order the cashier told me that the woman in front of me had paid for my order and passed along the message for me to have a good day!? Wow. As I pulled away the tears started falling again, but this time over God's goodness. That message from the woman driving a Kia Soul was like God speaking directly to my soul, letting me know that He's aware of my pain and is with me. The sun suddenly got a little brighter.
In the midst of all this craziness, I was asked to be a regular on a syndicated radio show, was hired to do some radio imaging for a production company, and Joy Is Contagious...Cancer Isn't was released. In all honesty, it was hard to be excited about all the positives on the heels of all the difficulty. But my heart was grateful and remained full of hope.
"For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (GNT)
I know this was long and kind of rambling, but I wanted you to know why I've been away. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you'll continue to count your many blessings each day.
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.