With my daughter, Virginia

A handful of years ago, my youngest daughter, Virginia, had surgery to remove a large mass on the lining of her brain. Thankfully, it was benign, and she came through the procedure well; however, she had nearly fifty staples closing the incision, and recovery was slow, over a period of months. We shared much of that time together. Many dear ones prayed. My mother’s heart nearly broke as I watched her go through such a serious surgery and arduous recovery.

She had several years of feeling good, seizure free, and, she, and our family, were hopeful she was going to be tumor free for many years. That hope was cut short recently; the tumor began growing back, causing headaches and pre-seizure like symptoms.

Today is the second day for Virginia to have a targeted radiation treatment. It’s hard to understand what exactly the doctors are doing. When they talk of 250 beams of radiation shooting at her tumor with a robotic arm, one’s mind can barely comprehend. However, Virginia walked out of the first procedure unscratched – until the evening headache settled in like a a violent rainstorm on a cold, Seattle night. Pounding pain.

Then, my fragile heart could barely take it in. Enough, I cried out silently. A brain tumor that has parked comfortably by her optic nerve? The bits and pieces of rogue cells lodged happily next to her pituitary gland and the motor functions for her right side, for the duration of her life? As I grabbed her dinner order at Chipotle, I held back heavy tears no one can wipe away. Seriously. No one can wipe them away, now, today. Yes, they can be kept at bay, but happy thoughts and even prayers don’t remove them. I weakly hand them to my Jesus. It’s messy. Those tears stick heavily to me.

It’s time to head out for day two of her treatment. Will the headaches be worse today? The nurse mentioned the fatigue will grow as the week progresses.

My only hope when looking for comfort? Jesus, somehow. “He understands us, He’s been there, and He assures us that He has a plan to eventually wipe away every tear, to make “everything sad come untrue” as J R R Tolkien put it at the end of his Christian allegory The Lord Of The Rings. Someone might say, “But that’s only half an answer to the question ‘Why?’ ” Yes, but it is the half we need.” – T Keller


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