i am a terrible waiter. i don't like to wait in line...on the phone...or even for a friend. i never order anything through a catalog because that would involve at least a few days of some serious waiting. do you remember the days of lay away? that about killed me as a kid. i can remember finding the perfect pair of corduroys at gold circle only to have my mother whisk them off to the surly lady behind the lay away counter. we'd plunk a whopping five dollars down and out the door we'd go. corduroy-less. i like to go and shop and buy and bring home. it's as simple as that. i am an immediate gratification kind of girl. uughh. i realize how terribly unspiritual and desperately superficial that all sounds. i know the drill: patience is a virture. and in this regard, i am, admittedly, quite void of virtue. but here's the real deal, i especially don't like waiting for answers. i was the pesky child always tugging at the arm of an adult. i needed to know everything. i still do. i don't like waiting. and yet, that is exactly what we are doing this weekend. waiting. yesterday, at 5:22 on friday afternoon, my breast surgeon's office called me.
"mrs. mcnatt, we're sorry, but we haven't received the results back from your MRI."
i had the MRI on thursday and thought it might be possible to know its findings by late friday. but the answer was "no."
so i asked the next question, "okay, well do you have the results from my biopsy receptor test? have those come back yet?"again, i was given a firm, "no." followed with a weak, "sorry."
i hung up the phone and stood there for a minute staring out my kitchen window. i stood there wondering if this actually made my weekend better or worse. i honestly couldn't decide. in some ways i was frustrated. i had been hoping to hear something. well, the truth of the matter is, i was hoping to hear something good. i was hoping to hear something positive and encouraging and wonderful and then i was hoping to go out into our weekend and enjoy it to the brink. to the hilt. because these are big tests and there are big results coming. there are results right this very moment sitting in someone's dark office. there are films and papers stacked neatly in a metal bin on the corner of a serious desk. i can see it. i can imagine the quiet room and the scribbled notes and the sterile folder. i can imagine the setting, but i never imagined myself waiting for this kind of information. i've never waited on results like these. never. we are waiting to hear things about what else the MRI might show...we are waiting for more details about this cancer...and about its longterm characteristics. some of what i hear will dictate the type of surgery needed. some of it will dictate the type of post-surgery treatment. some of it will go even beyond. it will go further, to places i cannot go today.
i type and i shake. oh, satan be gone! stop your ugly attempts to meddle in my mind. you want only to offer me hefty servings of doubt and fear. and i push away the plate with both hands. i turn my face and i close my eyes...i will not look into your slippery darkness. i will not. i lean away and i hold on tight. my knuckles sheer white and frantic. the thump of my heart rings steadily in my ears. i feel fear rise up and shoulders hunker down. be gone, oh evil one. i will not fall prey to your desperate desires. because that is what you are...desperate. you know i belong to a King. i am a child of God and you have no right over me. you have no victory in me. you have no power around me. i am HIS. and instead of hunkering down and hunching up it is time for me to rise and claim what is already mine. victory. my God is a lifter of heads. "But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high." psalm 3:3. His hand already on my trembling chin. He holds my head steady. He holds my arms firmly. He whispers constantly into my listening ear, "be still daughter."
oh, seriously, can i never learn this lesson. we waited an entire year for bella. we had to relinquish control of her adoption time after time. we had to fill out forms and send off checks and then know there was not one more cotton picking thing we could do to hurry it all up. i really, truly thought i had learned this hard lesson of surrender- the theme of be still. but as i sit in the middle of this late saturday night, i see how much further i have yet to go. i still resist catalogs and lay away and lines. i want my answers and i want a plan. and of course i want it now. i know we will be walking head on into battle soon. and my human-ness is desperate for a detailed map. a strategy. i am done sleeping with the unknowns and the what-ifs...i am ready to move on. to move forward. i am staring a monster in the face and all my 42 years of feisty-ness wants to fight. hard.
my darling friend, beverly, shared this passage with me just after my diagnosis. just after we wept together. beverly is one month ahead down this ugly cancer road. she is well into the battle. "on your feet, Daughter of Zion! be threshed of chaff, be refined of dross. I'm remaking you into a people invincible..." (micah 10:13). she has texted me this verse or said it to me several times since my knowing. beverly knows the taste of battle fire. she is there. she is already in it. she knows it is not time to sit down and rest. it is time to rise up. to be all in. she knows it is time to be "on your feet, Daughter of Zion!"
but this weekend we wait. this weekend we rest. this weekend we do our very best to Be Still - truly a funny thought in our household of seven. monday will come. our results will return. the plan will be clear. but this weekend we wait. psalm 27:14 says to "wait for the Lord, be brave and courageous and wait for the Lord." we all know the actual battle will take courage and bravery. that's clear. that's more than obvious. but i love this psalm because david understood... he understood the challenge of the pre-battle. he understood how hard it would be before charging out. sometimes we need to be brave while we wait. honestly, i get that. put me up on a battle horse and let me run ...but please don't leave me alone in the silence of my thoughts and my quiet.
but it is saturday night and i sit here in the Be Still. and even in this planless, answerless weekend, somehow i know God is working. He is using it. the weekend will end. tomorrow will come. don't be mistaken, the battle is brewing. there will be a time of charging out ...all guns blazing (gloriously, i do hope)...and without doubt i will hear the strong voice of my Lord signaling, "on your feet, Daughter of Zion! on your feet."