I am embarrassed to say that before Hannah was diagnosed with cancer, I was completely blind to the suffering of people around me. I think a lot of that was by choice...I didn't want to see it, so I didn't. I think some of it was fear...fear of becoming emotionally involved in people's pain and getting hurt myself. And I think some of it was just being so caught up in my own family, work, busy-ness, etc., that I simply was not aware.
When Hannah first became sick, my world was utterly rocked. I clearly remember going to Wal-Mart the first few times after she was diagnosed. I felt so changed inside I actually wondered if people could tell that my daughter had cancer just by looking at me! I was sure it was written all over my face. But, of course, no one could tell. I still smiled and spoke politely...I still functioned just as I always had...but I was profoundly changed inside. And then, like the proverbial ton of bricks, it hit me that Wal-Mart had to be full of people like me...people who appear fine on the outside, but are experiencing raging storms on the inside. I suddenly felt like God was giving me a glimpse of others through His eyes. The Brandon Heath song, "Give Me Your Eyes" was being played all the time on Christian radio at that time, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was actually "seeing" people.
Also, about that time, my Uncle Joe emailed me a poem. It's kind of long, but is such a great description of what I was feeling at that time:
"I did not know His love before,
the way I know it now.
I could not see my need for Him,
my pride would not allow.
I had it all, without a care,
the "Self-sufficient" lie.
My path was smooth, my sea was still,
not a cloud was in my sky.
I thought I knew His love for me,
I thought I'd seen His grace,
I thought I did not need to grow,
I thought I'd found my place.
But then the way grew rough and dark,
the storm clouds quickly rolled;
The waves began to rock my ship,
my anchor would not hold.
The ship that I had built myself
was made of foolish pride.
It fell apart and left me bare,
with nowhere else to hide.
I had no strength or faith to face
the trials that lay ahead,
And so I simply prayed to Him
and bowed my weary head.
His loving arms enveloped me,
and then He helped me stand.
He said, "You still must face this storm,
but I will hold your hand."
So through the dark and lonely night
He guided me through pain.
I could not see the light of day
or when the storm might wane.
Yet through the aches and endless tears,
my faith began to grow.
I could not see it at the time,
but my light began to glow.
I saw God's love in brand new light,
His grace and mercy, too.
For only when all self was gone
could Jesus' love shine through.
It was not easy in the storm,
I sometimes wondered, "Why?"
At times I thought, "I can't go on."
I'd hurt, and doubt, and cry.
But Jesus never left my side,
He guided me each day.
Through pain and strife,
through fire and flood,
He helped me all the way.
And now I see as never before
how great His love can be.
How in my weakness He is strong,
how Jesus cares for me!
He worked it all out for my good,
although the way was rough.
He only sent what I could bear,
and then He cried, "Enough!"
He raised His hand and said, "Be still!"
He made the storm clouds cease.
He opened up the gates of joy
and flooded me with peace.
I saw His face now clearer still,
I felt His presence strong,
I found anew His faithfulness,
He never did me wrong.
Now I know more storms will come,
but only for my good,
For pain and tears have helped me grow
as naught else ever could.
I still have so much more to learn
as Jesus works in me;
If in the storm I'll love Him more,
that's where I want to be!"
Enough for tonight...bed is calling...I plan to post more tomorrow, on the six month anniversary of Hannah's homegoing.