Last night, after my third round of chemotherapy for cancer, the newly arrived chemo kicked it up a notch in the war raging in my body. My friend, Nancy, was on hand to help in any way she could. After going to sleep, with her prayers, and many others, covering me, I fitfully shivered in my multiple-layered pajamas under a mound of blankets and quilts, I woke at 1:30 a.m. to tingling, oppressive heat internally and breathing problems due to gasping dry heat in the room externally. Additionally, my body, feeling overwhelmed with regular old gravity, and aches and pains all over, couldn't walk upright. The chemo was pummeling me internally while my white blood cells, boxing gloves on, laced and whacking, were having their own say. 

I decided to have courage. I crawled to Nancy's room to ask for help. It took me closer to 20 minutes to ask for help. I'm not proud of this. I'm an advocate for others to help them ask for help. But, there I was wanting to be independent and "doing it my way." Silly, really, but I do think this struggle is universal on some level. Happy to say, I chose to be brave, become transparent and share my needs. As I knocked on Nancy's door, she beckoned me in. "I can't walk." I respond weakly. Immediately, I had connected with the treasure in the darkness.

Nancy sprang into action, met me on the floor and began a series of compassionate actions to move me to a much better place physically, spiritually and emotionally. She poured kindness, comfort, love and life into me to lift me up and restore me to a place of peace and rest. And isn't that really a priceless treasure in any human darkness? 

Whether it is in our darkness apart from God's boundless love or our darkness in our relationships, when one extends the gifts of kindness rather than condemnation, compassion rather than marginalization, meeting physical, spiritual and emotional needs, isn't that the treasure? Ultimatedly, caregivers in our darknesses point to the greatest treasure, Jesus, who rescued us out of our own darknesses of heart and gave us His righteousness, love and life. He has brought us to the best place of peace and rest, if we believe He did.

"And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness--secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name." Isaiah 45:3 

The above pencil sketch is by Marcia Carole