It is early Monday morning and I lay awake next to Izzy who is peacefully still asleep. We arrived to the hospital last night to begin preparations for the infusion that will begin in just a few hours. It is her fifth and final round of antibody. Our last round of treatment. It goes without saying that I cannot believe we have finally made it to this day. Come Friday this is what her treatment résumé will look like: two surgeries, six months of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, twelve rounds of radiation and five rounds of antibody. A résumé that proves she is resilient, that she is an overcomer and that she will fight for those things worth fighting for, her life included. That is a résumé more impressive than most of the grown ups I know.
Last summer shortly after her re-diagnosis, Izzy began to talk about rainbows. She had never seen one in real life and wondered if they were real. I thought if we could see one it would be a wonderful opportunity to talk to her about God’s faithfulness and became convinced I would find one for her.
I remember an evening last July that we arrived late to a wedding rehearsal because I had decided to chase a rainbow that I had seen behind some buildings. By the time the kids looked the buildings were blocking it so I got off the interstate and chased it for several miles determined for her to see a rainbow. It was almost as if I thought if I found one for her I could force God into promising me something. I remember that hot July day finally pulling off the road in defeat. Carter had seen the rainbow, but not Izzy. I was heartbroken.
More often than not it has been raining intermittently on our drives to and from Cincinnati so I began to believe that God would someday show us one in transit. I thought seeing one either to or from treatment would be a powerful symbol from The Lord. But in sixteen months we never did…until yesterday as we were driving down for treatment for the last time.
It was early evening and we were driving through splashes of both sunshine and rain. At first I saw only a glimpse of colors near a cloud but they were so faded I simply could not get Izzy to see what once was there. It was only a few minutes later that I saw the real thing. As I looked just over the steering wheel and to the left (only swerving occasionally in all the excitement) I saw a real live rainbow. It was like a waterfall that cascaded down from a cloud and landed in a patch of trees. It was faint at first but I got Izzy and my grandmother’s attention, still. The closer we got it began to brighten and the colors got so bold that she could finally see. She was elated…for five seconds. And that was it for her. She didn’t care. She listened to me talk for a bit about God and the meaning of a rainbow and then she put her headphones on and delve back in to Mary Poppins.
It wasn’t until late last night that I realized that while Izzy may have had the initial interest in seeing a rainbow it had clearly become my thing. The truth is, it may have been fun for her to see the beautiful colors but Izzy doesn’t need to see a rainbow in the sky to know God is faithful. She has seen His faithfulness continually over the past sixteen months in a way far more intimate. And while I would have rather taught her something myself about God in a way that was far less painful, God chose to do it a differently. The lessons she has learned from walking through this nightmare knowing He is beside us far outweighs anything I could have taught her by pointing to the sky.
All that said, I know the fight for Izzy’s life does not end here, so I will take that rainbow we saw yesterday as our own. I will choose to believe that us finally seeing it was a sign of God’s promise for better days.
Genesis 9:12-16 (NIV)
” And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.'”