It’s Thanksgiving Day and in spite of the fact that the rest of the country is celebrating it feels like just another Thursday to me. I guess I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like we’re missing out on something, like there isn’t some huge party that everyone else got invited to except us. But the truth is, if I sit here long enough in our 8×8 hospital room with stark white walls I forget and it does feel just like another Thursday.
Izzy’s chemo was over Friday, but her nausea got out of control over the weekend. Throughout the week it’s been one thing after another that has kept us here. Now her white blood count is zero, she’s had a fever for three days and she has mucositis again. The sores in her mouth and throat are so painful they have her hooked up to a pain pump. It is incredibly hard to watch her when she is like this, but we continue to fight. And the chance to fight for her life is a gift that everyone isn’t given. A gift I will choose to be thankful for today and everyday.
All of the other Thanksgivings in my life sort of blend together now. Looking back I remember food and family and a feeling of camaraderie with everyone else I knew. And people I didn’t know for that matter. At any point in the day I knew people across the entire country were sitting around a big table eating generally delicious food and taking a moment to be thankful. But this year in the days leading up to today my temptation was to feel alone.
Until last night when I was talking to another mom and began to have a change of heart. As we stood downstairs talking to Sarah (I had to mention you by name, sorry) said that she and her husband had joked about scheduling holidays that work around their schedule. They have walked this journey with cancer much longer than we have. And then as we were walking away she said, “Everyday is really Thanksgiving for us anyway. You know?” But I didn’t know. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Their son is only six and their journey has already been so long. They are thankful for life everyday. They don’t need a turkey on the table to remind them to be. As I walked away from her last night I was reminded that I shouldn’t need a turkey on my table to be thankful right now either.
Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one whom has been entrusted much, much more will be asked.” In other words, from whom much is given, much is expected. It’s a principle many live by whether or not they align themselves with the Christian Faith. What I’ve been wondering for the past month or so is about the reverse. What about ‘from whom much is taken’? It’s taken me some time, but I’ve come to two conclusions.
The first is this, “from whom much is taken, little is needed.” That’s why families like Sarah’s and others don’t get too worked up over the idea of spending Thanksgiving in the hospital. They have been stolen from for so long that they don’t need a fancy holiday dinner to smile. They get excited about everyday they aren’t in the hospital, holiday or not. When so much has been taken your entire framework for a good day changes. I talked with a mom this morning who just months ago was told her son had no chance for a cure. You can believe that now her definition of a good day is every day they hear anything different than that. She couldn’t care less that they are in the hospital today. They’re getting a treatment now that is actually working. After talking to other families that have walked on this journey longer than myself I feel confident saying that “from whom much is taken, little is needed.”
But the most important conclusion I’ve come to is this: “from whom much is taken, much will be restored.” I don’t really think that conclusion is any theory I need to see proven. I think it’s a promise consistent with the nature of God. Yes, if He’s given us a lot He expects a lot from us as well. But when He sees us stolen from, our hearts broken, He longs to restore them. And He will. I don’t know what restoration will look like for my family or any of the others on this unfortunate journey but I know He’s good for it.