3 Tuesday mornings ago I spent the quiet predawn hours alone, anxiously awaiting the results of my mother’s latest biopsy. Having learned by now that pacing and hand wringing would only cause my anxiousness to snowball into anxiety, I tried to keep myself otherwise occupied. At some point I began clearing out all of my inboxes, checking the 700 unread emails left lingering there for months now.
Amidst a seemingly endless succession of social media notifications was an email from a dear friend. I opened it to find, with some disappointment, a chain letter containing “an urgent message” just for me. I rolled my eyes, but knowing it was sent with the best of intentions, I read on.
God, the letter explained, had seen me struggling (probably w parking) & in his mercy he’d relieved me of my struggles, replacing them with blessings…that I’d see any day now . In turn, all I had to do was forward the email to 30 friends in 20 minutes, as a display of my faith . The letter closed with a promise that God would answer an additional 2 prayers in my favor once the emails were sent.
“A magical prayer answering chain email?! Seems legit!” I bypassed forwarding it to 30 people, sending it instead directly to the trash folder .
Who falls for those things, I wondered as I continued deleting emails and waiting for news.
But, that was before. It was before I knew my mom’s latest biopsy showed the cancer spreading through her body was now in her liver. I got that chain letter before I knew that her last chemo session left her so depleted she had to ride home lying in the back of an SUV, unable to even sit up. Before I could almost feel my dad’s heart breaking as he lifted her from the back of the SUV carried her inside & cradling her in his arms set her gently down on their bed. Or that in the coming weeks, still weak and in pain my mother would be admitted to the hospital twice, making her chances of being able to continue the drug trial treating her cancer, very slim. I didn’t know yet that my Aunt Shelly, with her heart still heavy from the sudden loss of her beloved big brother, was there in Lake Jackson taking care of & holding tight to her big sister. 3 Tuesdays ago I was, understandably, unwilling to entertain the idea of a magical prayer answering email.
Because I hadn’t yet cried myself to sleep in Amie’s arms or woken up to find she’d already booked a flight to Texas for me.
On that early Tuesday morning I had no idea that I would literally worry myself sick & on Doctor’s orders have to cancel my trip 2 days before leaving, so as not to expose my immunocompromised mother to an illness she isn’t vaccinated against.
The fear that I could lose my mother to cancer was never so raw, visceral or panic inducing before that day.
As another hard day fades into night, my racing thoughts have landed for a moment on the chain letter from those weeks ago.
“A magical prayer answering email!? … It’s worth a try! “
I fished it from the trash and forwarded it to the 120 Realtors in the greater Dallas area who’ve most recently spammed me. I hope that counts.
I just have one prayer;
Are you there, God? It’s me, Angela. I got your email & forwarded it on to others. Heads up; you’re about to get a lot of requests for home buyers and sellers.
As for the promised 2 prayers answered in my favor, I really just have one;
Please remove all the cancer from my mother & keep it from ever coming back.
Heal every part of her that has been attacked, weakened, invaded, poisoned. Take the pain & discomfort of this cancer from her. Cast off the dark clouds of suffering hanging heavily over her now, leave only the silver linings as promised in Romans; perseverance, character & hope. Lift the fog of exhaustion & fortify her for this fight. Leave her mind clear and sharp and prepared for whatever comes next.
God, Isiah says you give power to the faint , I pray you restore my mother’s strength. She has little patience for the stillness that accompanies sickness, her soul was not meant to be sedentary. Reenergize her body, reignite her heart with joy so that her eyes sparkle again with the uncontainable light that is her spirit.
I pray the bonds of family, friendship & love that have been fortified, amplified or healed during her illness remain permanently transformed.
God let her be wrapped in the warmth of every word her loved ones have whispered, weeped or cried out to you on her behalf. Let her know she is cherish and beloved.
Take the cancer from my mother. But, leave with her the sense of freedom and peace she finds thru her perfect trust in your sovereignty, perfect submission to your will, perfect security in your arms.
The last time I came to you like this God, was as a mother begging & bargaining for her child’s life. Now I’m the child and my plea is still the same ; A mother and her child belong together. Please, don’t take her away.