An artist friend of mine who has greatly helped shape the direction of my art, story and faith work is a gifted, kind and generous woman named Marge. Yesterday, she “sent” me a collage of her interpretation of the firey furnace from the book of Job, chapter 23. Her collage inspired me to try my own, which you see above. I have reworked the final piece a bit, cut the gold bits down just a little, but you get the idea, I hope. Lots of painted papers, no photography.

Today is a chemo day for me, along with many others around the world. In my doctor’s office, we lie in reclining chairs with mounds of warm blankets on top of us and the chemo bag, IV, saline, and needles as our companions. Some of us bring a loving, caring friend who sits with us to cheer us on and give encouragement, or to grab another blanket or fresh water. Some of us sleep; I listen to music. The firey furnace is heating up as the slow drip of chemo slides stealthily into our bodies.

Being in a chemo “firey furnace” has it’s wins and losses. I’ve noticed I can’t think as fast on my feet; words come out of my mouth in funny ways when I have to respond quickly. Even typing a journal/blog entry has become harder, and I know the chemo has been running amuck in my brain, knocking over some good cells like empty glass bottles while searching pell mell for cancer. (I had to look up the word “amuck” because my brain couldn’t remember how to spell it – see what I mean.) They call it “chemo brain.”

“How do I suffer?” is a question I have been asking myself lately. Do I whine? Do I go through it kicking and screaming internally? Do I keep quiet and stoic being the calm person I tend to be? Do I thank God for the suffering and even praise Him? Do I ask for the Reader’s Digest version of chemo? Do I just give up and resign myself to the whole thing? Well, actually, I have had moments of all of the above.

Recently, exhausting my “self-control” has been my re-occuring theme. You know the concept, and the truth. I’m not in charge, God is. He is grabbing my attention on this one in deeper places in me. It is the theme of the firey furnace, at least mine. OK, run amuck today chemo, but guided by my Creator and lover of my soul. Please, Lord, lead the chemo and let me come forth as gold.

But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 
 Job 23:10


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