Thankful was not my first feeling. When dad let us know a routine checkup had revealed a strange lump on his neck, I felt sick. When the biopsy revealed that we were "going to be fighting something," I was mad, and I told God, "You're mean" and "I hate you." Even as I said it I knew I didn't really mean it, but it was such a relief to utter those words at the time. And as more tests confirmed that chemo and radiation are going to be the ingredients to a possible cure, I have somehow arrived at the feeling of thankful. But I don't think it was a direct course, so I need to reflect on the moments of thankful that crept in during the darkness and have somehow grown to overtake it and burn a brighter light.
I am thankful for TIMING.
Last May Dad sold his business of 30 years, and over the past few months he has taken care of all the loose ends so that he is now free from this responsibility. This means that as he starts the journey of healing, he will not have any distractions, and whatever time he needs to take to come out on the other side of this has been granted to him.
I am thankful for LOCATION.
Just over a year ago Choonghwan and I moved back to Knoxville. This has put us in a unique spot to be helpers for my parents as they need it over the next few months.
I am thankful for BROTHERS.
Somewhere along the way these little brothers have turned into men who seek the Lord in their lives and offer the love of Christ to their sister who may be older and wiser, but is not always stronger. They have watched me wipe my tears over video chats and listened to my voice crack over the phone. They have let me share my deepest fears without judgment and have shown me compassion in my weakness.
I am thankful for SISTERS.
I have been gifted with one sister who is highly competent in the medical field, and who has kept all of us up to speed on the terminology and outcomes while remaining extremely encouraging and hopeful. I have been blessed with another sister who has the talent of fleshing-things-out, and who has been a go-to when I struggle with the frustrations of this diagnosis. Both of my sisters offer me a place to speak freely and receive community when I need it.
I am thankful for PSALMS.
I am thankful for the verses that have been revealed to me to draw me near, to give me hope, and to comfort me.
When we first received news of the lump and were waiting for the results of the needle biopsy: "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD." Psalm 112:7
When we knew that the biopsy had revealed "something" but were waiting to find out what it was and still praying for healing: "Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water." Psalm 114:7
And even as I was fearing the worst: "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." Psalm 116: 15
I am thankful for WEATHER.
Tonight's news came on the eve of a snow day, affording me the time to talk with my parents, my brothers, my sisters, and my friends into the late hours of the evening.
I am thankful for FRIENDS.
Along the way I've been endeared friends who have met my dad and know not only my deep love for him, but also his genuine love for others. I know these friends will bear with me in love and in prayer. I know they will talk to God on our behalf with words I cannot muster. I know they will cry with me, and even laugh with me because they know there is healing in laughter. They will not let me walk alone.
I am thankful for WORDS.
I need these thoughts to be tangible. I will need to look back and be reminded, and I will need to move forward and make additions. I will continue to proclaim thankfulness because the alternative is a lie. I will not be deceived into believing that I have nothing to be thankful for.
Thankful for Cancer. I had a question mark at the end of the title when I started. Thankful for Cancer? That seems a bit cynical. So I'm deleting the punctuation. Thankful for Cancer. I am.