I don’t know how else to say it. But, this whole gig is rigged. God has it all worked out in some crazy-only-God-can-do-this way that I still feel like the beneficiary of incredible gifts of love, kindness, care, and concern and, somehow someway, people keep telling me that they think it blesses them more than it blesses me?! Huh?! It’s too big for my brain. I was just emailing Alan, my ol’ coworker and friend whose wife made us dinner tonight (and who still blows me away with his love for Jesus because I’ve seen God radically change his life since we worked together several years ago!), and his kind words surprised me again. I feel like I’m nothin’ but a taker these days so when others tell me that they’re on the receiving end, I’m still surprised. And thankful. I can’t help but go back to basic math or physics and think it’s not possible for others to give and give and give to us and then, when I try to thank them, tell me that they think they’re on the receiving end. Only God can rig it so that I feel like I take and take and take (and that ‘taking’ requires a fair amount of laying pride aside) but others tell me they feel like they’re blessed by giving, participating and joining us on our journey. I know God has said “it’s better to give than to receive” but, somehow, as I see that truth played out before and can’t imagine that the givers are blessed as much as the Clouse clan. I marvel once more at God’s kindness to our family.
The gifts and grace keep coming. As I told Molly today when she forwarded me the list of who was bringing meals this week, I find myself as blessed by reading the names of who cares and wants to help as I do by the meal itself (don’t get me wrong – less time in the kitchen is fine by me too!). But, honestly, I keep thinking the newness of this is gonna wear off and y’all are gonna grow tired too. But, as I now type with tears in my eyes, babysitters keep coming on Friday nights, meals keep showing up on Tuesdays and Thursdays, errands are still getting done, people still read the blog, dear friends from near and far still come see us, there are still notes in our mailbox, and there are still sweet comments on the blog or text or email. Thanks Jesus. You are our Sustainer. And you use your peeps. Please bless them.
And speaking of you peeps … more props. Scott and I have a new family that just moved in 2 houses down. When I first went to meet them, I had hair. And, then, not long after, I could see their look of dismay as their neighbor comes home from a jog and is totally bald. But, again, cancer opens doors and paves paths and begets kindness. So, this week, as I turned the corner of our block on an especially grueling and pathetic attempt at a run, I walked towards our neighbor’s house and it crossed my mind that I wondered if they had a church home. Then, as I approached their house, she was outside and she stopped to ask how I’m doing (reason #678 that cancer is a blessing: more reasons to talk to our neighbors!). I told her we continue to be thankful for minimal side effects and that our friends are amazing so we have lots of help and support. She said, “I always see people coming and going from your house … where do y’all go to church?” In short, she sees cancer and she sees care from y’all and she sees the body of Christ at work. I pray that she’ll see JESUS in His fullness as y’all walk among us and are HIS hands and feet ministering to our needs. Over and over again. I pray that y’all don’t grow weary in doing good. Because we need you. And thank you.
I’ve continued to have less side effects than expected and am thankful for the meds that overcome nausea because I have only felttwinges of it – and, honestly, I haven’t known if those were hunger pains or chemo effects. Scott’s response is always, “take the meds!” So, I may be medicating hunger pains with really expensive and intense anti-nausea medicine but I’m not complaining – it works. I felt good enough to spend Saturday night out at the Westin celebrating 2 of my best friend’s birthdays and just some good ol’ girl time and lots o’ pool time. Ooohh aaahhh ….
Today, I’m a little fussy about the little things. The truth is, I’m not kneeling over a toilet and I’m SO thankful. And, in the scheme of things, everything else pales in comparison. But, today, this sore on my lip that is busted open and bloody and ugly and been there for over 6 weeks is getting old. And the perpetual bloody nose and sores in my nose are getting old. And, I’m tired. But, by God’s grace (and I truly mean that not just Christian filler language), none are debilitating. And, I think our little guy may have an ear infection so, if we add his appointment later this afternoon into the mix, we will see 6 different doctors between today and next Thursday. But, even as I type that, the Lord reminds me of something else that I’m thankful for – that Scott has a flexible job and a great partner. On most days, he can schedule clients and projects around doctor’s appointments. I’m also so thankful he does something he loves and for folks that want to remodel their home so that he gets to do what he absolutely loves and pay our bills while still accompanying me to lots and lots of doctor’s appointments. However, I must admit, that sometimes the multi-tasking is problematic. Last week, the doctor walked in and Scott continued to talk plumbing and permits and electricity and tile while I grimaced and grunted and huffed and puffed for him to HANG UP. He later reminded me that if he’s gonna be at all these appointments, sometimes he just might have to talk a little construction and boobs at the same time.
Speaking of doctor’s appointments, there are a lot in the next week – 2 more plastic surgeon consultations regarding reconstruction (no decisions yet – waiting to meet with all 3 doctors to get multiple opinions), an appointment with the radiologist, and a follow-up appointment with the surgeon who will remove the tumor. And chemo. So, today, as I asked friends to help me sort through the babysitting needs, I’m a little overwhelmed. But, again, I’m thankful for friends who have offered to coordinate that and so many of y’all who will love on my little man while someone else pokes around or takes pictures or analyzes my boobs.
I think that’s all I’ve got for now. Oh, no, I’m wrong. One more thing. I’ve had a lot of conversations about the wigs. And appreciated the comments and indulging me with the game because it still baffles me. But the answer to the question posed to y’all last week about the cost of the wigs is …
Drum roll, please …
Spunky, my new wig, is the ‘cheap one’ at merely $2,000!
And, Pinky, my first friend who is getting a little restyle this week is $5000!
Isn’t that crazy?! And who knew?! I guess you don’t need to know how much wigs cost until you you’re bald! But, now that I know, I’m all the more thankful for these gifts … $7000 worth of gifts handed down to a stranger. Cancer begets kindness. And I’m a blessed beneficiary. And I pray that, as God’s got it rigged, He’ll bless you as you’re blessing us!
With love and lots of pink from our house to your house …