I was in sixth grade the first time I played the TRUST game. I remember when we were told we had to take turns standing on top of a picnic table and falling backwards into the arms of our team members. We looked at one another in terror. The level of trust you had to have in your team was unreal. You had to believe without a shadow of doubt that they would keep their arms out to catch you no matter what. And you couldn’t just believe it in your head, you had to believe it in every square inch of your heart. I can remember standing on top of the table face forward seeing their hands and arms locked together. I turned around and even though I couldn’t see that they were still prepared to catch me, I could hear their voices assuring me that they had me. That they wouldn’t let me fall to the ground. As my heals backed to the edge of the table the adrenaline rose. I quickly questioned one last time if they would really catch me and then I leaned backwards. Falling through the air I panicked for a split second and then felt the security of their arms. They had me and their arms were actually more stable than I had imagined. It was actually a rewarding experience in the end.
I thought about this experience tonight as I lay next to Izzy as she slept. She had just finished her first dose of the chemo drug they are using this round, the one I’m told is “evil.” Initially it shows no side effects and then it explodes with horrendous nausea that lingers on days after the treatment is complete. As I watched her sleeping so peaceful and innocent it broke me to know she had no idea that poison was flowing through her body. I was heart broken over the peace that she was about to lose and the lives that all of us already had when I was struck by the imagery of falling off a picnic table.
I’ll start off by saying this is nothing like falling. I feel like I just got shoved off the worlds tallest picnic table. Like I was thrown violently off the edge with no warning. It’s like I’m free falling through hell and no one has caught me yet. I didn’t know I was going to get pushed so I didn’t get to check out the scene first. I don’t even know how far the drop is or what’s waiting at the bottom if someone doesn’t show up to catch me. I’m told someone will, but I haven’t seen Him. I hear a voice along the fall that promises to catch me even though I doubt it. He promises His arms are more secure than I can imagine.
I can’t sit still in this hospital room. I walk around the halls aimlessly hoping to find something. It’s not the thing you probably think either. I’m not looking for peace or answers even. I’m looking for a way to grieve. I don’t know how to grieve the things in my life I’m in the process of losing. Normalcy. Stability. Being a mother to my son. Watching my daughter go to preschool this year instead of admitted to the hospital every other week. And I grieve seeing what my kids are losing too. They each seem to have lost their best friend. But He’s there, right? Waiting to catch me? Deep down inside I believe it, but somewhere not so deep inside I wonder. If this really is the ultimate game of TRUST so far it sucks.
Earlier today I was listening to a CD in our room for a while Izzy did puzzles with my dad. After I turned it off Izzy said she heard me listening to “Peace When You Cry.” It’s not the title of the song but it’s in the chorus of a song by Matt Hammit called “Holding You.” She asked me to play it again and began to sing the first part of the chorus to us: “Where will you find peace when you cry?” she sang it over and over again as I got the music ready. She said it was her favorite song so I think we’ll keep listening to it this week as things get grim.
See over the past four years I have taught my daughter to trust in the Lord. And now that I’m struggling desperately to do the same, she’s teaching me.