This is, of course, my all-too human response (filtered through my natural lens of sarcasm and sardonic humor) to the feeling I have that there are times in my life when God spends a bit of “prep time” on my spirit, getting me ready for some of the trials that I will face in my life. Like, for instance, how I got to have a sabbatical of sorts to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the blow to the gut I received when I got the news my dad had cancer (this has been covered in depth in an earlier blog – make with the clicking on the link to read if you’re so inclined). Unknown to me at the time, God was also giving me an extended season to spend with Cricket in what I could never have surmised were the last few months of her life.
With this in mind, God’s been teaching me a lot about balance lately. – no, not in terms of time management (oh, come on; everyone and their momma already likes talking about this through a spiritual framework) nor in terms of the plummeting world market (I can barely pay attention these days let alone pay for stocks).
The lesson in spiritual balance that I’ve been seeing and feeling does not come in terms of how many people codify the duality of some aspects of life (or, to put it in simpler terms: the Newtonian viewpoint of how for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). Rather, the balance the Spirit’s been showing me and leading me to see comes more in the idea of bookends instead of an “A=B” or “A to Z” mentality.
Mistakes. And redemption.
Love. And apathy.
Mercy. And selfishness.
Case in point: there is something that is undoubtedly amazingly significant about the fact that it was at the beginning of the summer (or, rather, at the end of the Spring semester of college) that my dad was first diagnosed with lung cancer. My employment had come to a fermata (which is to say an extended pause, not an ending; you’re welcome, music majors) at this time, and although the growth had undoubtedly been in his lungs for some time, this was the first time that it was noticed that he had something growing inside him.
Jump ahead a few weeks. Roughly five to six of them. Ashley and I travel to Tupelo to visit my family. While we are there, we decide that it is necessary to go to the local drug store to procure a small plastic stick to determine if Ashley is pregnant or not. Although the thing in her had been there for some time (say, a few weeks), this was the first time that it was noticed (okay: confirmed) that she had something growing inside her.
Soon after we left Tupelo, my dad started undergoing chemotherapy. He began seeing a physician to help him take the necessary steps to remove the thing growing inside of him, which could lead to his eventual death.
Soon after we arrived back in Miami, Ashley started seeing a physician to help her with nurturing the thing growing inside of her, which could lead to an eventual life.
The radiation treatments and the chemotherapy my dad has been undergoing has caused him to become weaker physically and much more tired every day. However, at the same time, these treatments have been causing the growth inside of him to methodically, progressively become substantially smaller, reducing the probability of this blackness in his body leading to death.
The treatments (food; including the cravings) and medication (pre-natal vitamins) that Ashley has been taking have been shoring up her strength, giving her the strength to go on every day. Additionally, these things she’s been ingesting have been helping the growth inside of her to methodically, progressively become bigger, increasing the probability that the little spark of life in her will lead to a healthy birth.
The eventual birth of my child.
The rebirth of my dad’s physical, emotional, and mental health.
Not that one cannot exist without the other; there are – sadly – many people who live their lives with no mercy for others, but instead only seek the things that edify themselves. Likewise, many people spend all their days without the grace of redemption embracing and cleansing their lives.
The balance is there, like redemption, waiting to be found. And accepted.
This doesn’t mean by any stretch that Ashley became pregnant because my dad has cancer, or vice versa. It just means that there are balances – bookends – that can be found as signposts of God moving and shaping our lives in ways we may not fully comprehend.
For me, I love the idea of synchronicity. Or what others might refer to as the “close a door/open a window” idea.