This time last year, Mom was really sick and growing exponentially sicker. It was horrible and exhausting to watch her decline like that. We never called in Hospice, and I got to serve Mom in ways that I could never have fathomed. I am thankful that I was able to be a small part of caring for her, but there were a lot of times that I told myself, “Just be thankful that she’s here. Even though she’s like this, at least she’s still here with you.” And over and over I said to myself, “There could come a day when you’d give anything, even to be back here, because it would mean she’s alive. Be thankful even for this.”
Today, I was washing dishes after the girls had eaten lunch, and my mind wandered back to where I was at this time last year and all those thoughts I fed myself came rushing back. What amazed me today, was the realization that I was wrong. I was wrong to think I’d give anything to be back there–just so I could have her. I am here to tell you that I wouldn’t go back there for anything. To see her sick like that again. To go through the agony of uncertainty–just so desperate to know if He was going to heal her or not. I wouldn’t go back there, even if it meant having her alive, because what she was then was not her. It was a faint whisper of her life, entrapped in a perishing and painful shell. Why would I trade that, for the knowledge that she is whole and beautiful and happier than I ever even saw her. I wouldn’t trade it, and I’m sorry I spent so much time trying to relish something that I wish I could forget.
There is a sort of twisted game I’ve found my mind playing at times like these–when these types of comparisons start to seep in. I call it the, “What Would You Give Game?” While I’ve determined that I wouldn’t want Mom back in the form she was before she left us, the question that plagues me is, “What would I give to have her back whole and happy? And what if I could throw in the, ‘Her cancer would never ever come back so you can alleviate that worry as well’ clause?” I can tell you that trading my immediate family gets struck off the list immediately. The thought of trading one of their lives makes my stomach turn, but what about somebody else…? None of you may be safe 🙂 What if you throw out the God complex–lives are too valuable. What if you start talking about “comforts?” Would I give my house–meaning live with my children on the streets and not be able to be taken in by friends or family? Would I give my sanity? Is there a monetary limit? I mean when you think about realistically having to pay back 10 million, 100 million dollars and what that would mean about the rest of your life? Would I give up my ability to have more babies?
Thankfully, I serve a God who doesn’t allow me to make these kinds of bargains. He makes decisions, that He tells me are in my best interest, and I don’t have to decide anything. But, what does He ask me to give up in return?…Everything. Even those untouchables like my immediate family, my husband, my precious girls,…He demands that I give them all up to Him. That was a point that my Dad reached several years ago with Mom, and I could never hear him speak the words, “Lord, she’s not mine, she’s yours. I give her to you,” without losing it. Because for us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength,…” there’s a sacrifice of self and others that’s involved. I know I haven’t learned what it means to truly live life like that. But I imagine it would be a beautiful.