Regular readers of these ramblings know that my bride is in the midst of a battle with breast cancer. For the last eight months that unwanted and unexpected foe has rearranged our lives around doctors, hospitals, chemo days, and radiation days. Joni’s prognosis is good. The love and outpouring of prayers and well wishes from many of you has been amazing and uplifting. More than you will ever know. Joni has just over a week of radiation left and then several months of a targeted chemotherapy drug. That will be administered every three weeks so at least our schedule has a chance to return to some semblance of normalcy.
Yesterday was another day at the chemotherapy infusion room that Joni and I call the Slow Drip Spa. It is a place that has administered “treatments” to me as I watch Joni receive her infusions. I get regular infusions of perspective into my self-centered veins and heart. I watch people display courage and grace in the midst of a terrible trial. Yesterday I watched the initial greetings of every person that came in for treatment. The staff would always smile and ask the patient how they were doing. Yesterday the small sample of patients I witnessed had a consistent response. They would smile and report they were doing well.
I reflected on the irony of that exchange. I know from personal experience that the journey is long, tough, and you get discouraged. But the patients that come into the “spa” are consistently upbeat and determined. The regulars of the “spa” humble me. My infusion of perspective came at a good time yesterday. How easy it is to turn your focus from God and serving others to self absorption. As I absorbed my perspective infusion yesterday I remembered a long lost hymn from a legalistic church far, far away. The truth of this old hymn might have been lost on most of the congregants at that assembly but it is still truth.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
I am anxious for Joni’s treatments to be finished. But I pray that I don’t forget what I have learned at her side. Perhaps I (and maybe all of us) should schedule a monthly “perspective” date. It is not about us. I am not happy when I make it about me. Reflect on the creative translation of a very familiar verse from Matthew.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:28–30 The Message
I am tired. Joni and I are worn out. Frankly, I have been a little burned out on religion. Today I am going to carve out a some time to keep company with Jesus and seek how He displays the rhythms of grace.