Zoe: A Symbolic Teddy

“The results from your last scan show that the primary brain tumor you have has shrunk one millimeter since you began the clinical trial a month ago.”

Excitement welled up inside me. Tears flooded my eyes. Finally, positive news. Finally, I’m on track to wellness. Then, my prayers of thanksgiving began.

To some, it seems like a small victory in the scheme of my overall prognosis, but a victory is a victory no matter the size. At this point in this journey, we embrace any positive news because we have faced so many battles and bad news. Those words are a rainbow in the midst of this storm.

So what does this have to do with a teddy bear you ask? Well, the previous night I’d decided that I’d take Andrew to Build-A-Bear when we woke up, before he went back home. He wanted to get a teddy for mum, who had a major dental procedure on Monday (when I say major, I mean major — currently, her poor face is bruised and swollen, and she can hardly speak), and because of his kind heart, I decided that I’d also buy him a teddy for himself.

After sharing the unexpected but very welcome news with Mosha and parents, we departed for BAB, which is always an amazing experience. In the spirit of engaging and marking today in my personal history, I decided to make myself a bear, too. I let Andrew stuff her, clothe her and name her, but she is mine: a reminder of the beginning of my healing and the start of the eradication of Lyle.

Zoe

Ironically, this is all happening approximately a year after Mosha and I made a huge decision that has impacted every aspect of our lives since then, and it is the first positive news that I’ve received since. The choice we made was not made lightly and we know that we were led to make that particular choice by God, but the aftermath was not exactly pretty. The last year has been both a relief and a battle, perhaps more for me than Mosha, though I cannot speak for him. When people you have loved, admired and have known most of your life turn out to have differing views about you, your spiritual walk and illness (hurtful views), it doesn’t come without deep spiritual and emotional pain, which on some days were so overwhelming that it resulted in actual physical pain. You never really think that people you care for can truly hurt you, whether intentionally or not, but when it happens, it blindsides you, and the ramifications are long-lasting.

There are always two sides to every story, but our side never got told. We’ve lost friends who used to be more like family to us because of things that have been said. Did we defend ourselves? No, we didn’t. Why? Well, in the grand scheme of things at the time, we did not want to create greater conflict than had already been caused. We were more concerned with the unity that God was bringing about than ourselves, and that still holds true today. We chose to walk away peacefully. I cannot control what other people do or what they say, but I can control myself. Rather than spreading hate and rumors or attacking people because of my own hurt, I remembered that at some point, everyone answers to God. Any hurtful, untruthful things that have been said regarding me by others, God sees and knows about. It is not my job to “get back” at people or to tell my side of things. It’s my job to show God’s unfailing love. So that is what I am trying to do. It’s not easy by any means. Some days I want nothing more than to go back in time before all this happened or to do things differently so that the outcome would be different — so that I wouldn’t have to endure the pain of losing people whom I love so much, but that is not the path that God set me upon. I have peace through the pain, and we continue to move forward doing our very best to remain upon His path. I also take comfort in knowing that those who truly know me, who know my character through and through, have remained by my side. I am beyond grateful for them.

Let me just add that I am not all perfect, nor do I have it all together. There have been plenty of times over the last year that I have felt anger or negative thoughts about this situation. I am human, and anger is a very normal human emotion. However, God teaches and works through me each day, and it is Him who keeps me from allowing my anger turn into hate. He helps me to continue to love those who have hurt me. God is love, and love is still the most powerful force in the universe.

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