Thursday, March 8, 2018

Rose-Colored Glasses

This post is #23 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.

Photo credit: pangalactic gargleblaster and the heart of gold on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

March 8, 2008

The eighth of March was just another blessedly uneventful day in Hannah's recovery from brain surgery, so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you today ...

There's a danger, when someone dies before we feel they should, to view that person through rose-colored glasses. Reading this blog, with all the stories about and tributes to Hannah, might lead you to the incorrect conclusion that she was perfect. Hannah was a joy to raise, and while she never got involved in many of the destructive things teenagers sometimes do, she was far from perfect.

Let's see ... There was the time that I had her and Bethany cleaning the bathroom together (they were probably about 8 and 5), and I heard a blood-curdling scream. I raced into the bathroom to find that Hannah had sprayed Bethany directly in the eyes with Windex. They had had a little tiff, and Hannah thought she would solve it by giving her sister a squirt in the face. I picked Bethany up, stuck her head under the faucet, and rinsed out her eyes with water while she screamed her lungs out. I didn't know if Windex can blind somebody or not (apparently not!) but I made sure Hannah understood that she could have done permanent damage to her sister.  Hannah's defense: "I didn't know it was gonna hurt her!"  Yeah, right.

As they grew older, their arguments grew less physical and more verbal. They really didn't fight much ... just picked at each other sometimes. Usually, it would start as a joke, and then escalate to the point where someone got their feelings hurt -- usually Bethany!

Hannah was a perfectionist. I clearly remember trying to teach her how to write a lowercase "a" when she was about four years old. She wanted to be able to print her name, and she had the H's and the N's down, but she just couldn't get the A's. She was quickly becoming frustrated, and after one of her attempts, I said reassuringly, "That one's doesn't have to be perfect." She looked at me sharply, and through clenched teeth, she snarled, "But I WANT it to be perfect." She remained that way throughout her school years. She was extremely competitive and couldn't stand for anyone to make a higher grade than she did. These perfectionist tendencies sometimes even affected her relationships with her peers.  She was determined to be the valedictorian of her class, and was not about to let anyone get in her way!

There were a couple times in junior high and high school when Hannah was caught cheating. The first was on a homework assignment, when several girls worked together on something that they were supposed to do individually. Another time, she allowed a friend to look off her paper during a test. Both times, when confronted by the teacher, she readily admitted her involvement, and served time in detention. She took a lot of good-natured teasing from fellow students ... after all, she was the principal's daughter ... the principal's daughter is not supposed to cheat!!

No, Hannah did not ever commit what some might consider to be "serious sins".  And if there was ever someone who you might think could have earned her way to Heaven by being a good person, or by enduring suffering, it was Hannah. But she was born with a sin nature, as we all are, and she needed a Savior. The Bible tells us that "All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Thankfully, there is a remedy for Romans 6:23, we are told that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

It seems like I've known Romans 6:23 all my life ... memorized it in Sunday School when I was a little girl ... spouted it off mindlessly in church ... but, until my daughter's diagnosis with terminal cancer hit me square in the face, I had never really considered its meaning.  The disease and death we experience here on earth is a direct result of living in a world that is controlled and corrupted by sin. Romans 5:12 says that "...just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death came to all men, because all sinned."  From the time of Adam, mankind has been mired in sin, sorrow, and death.  "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)."  If we could somehow save ourselves just by being "good enough", why would God have sent His own Son to die for us?  Here's the good news ... Romans 10:9-10, 13 says "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved ... Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

No, Hannah could never have been "good enough" on her own to make it to Heaven. She is there today because she called upon His name, confessed her sin, and asked Him to be her Savior when she was eight years old.  And you can, too.

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