That's my wonderful mother-in-law, Dorothy, with me last week. At nearly 89, she leaves us all in the dust when it comes to gardening and just about everything else. I had the joy of getting her a new riding mower a few days ago and she was as excited as a little kid. I, instead, felt kind of guilty -- what kind of son in law am I to motivate her to mow our weeds by getting her a new tractor? The guilt didn't last for long. If she wants to mow, bless her heart!
The rains of the last few months have generated a bumper crop of grasses and weeds. For those who get normal rainfall every year, it may seem like a bother. But for us in drought-land, it is glorious (especially if your elderly mother-in-law cuts the weeds down for you). As noted philosopher Jed Clampett may have said, that got me to thinkin'.
Would there be a spring if it never rained in the winter?
As I write, another storm is moving in, promising to water the spring vegetables, refresh the snowpack in the mountains, and give the green and flowered hillsides more time to show their colors before fading to the golds and browns that dominate our view most of the year.
Would I be awestruck by blooming wildflowers in the desert were it not for the preceding drought?
Would I marvel at the cacophonous croaking of countless frogs down at the creek were it not for the quiet, lifeless nights before the rains came?
Would I be as grateful for the bright, dry and sunny days if they hadn't followed dark, wet and dismal ones?
Knowing myself as I do, I'm pretty sure the answer to those questions is no. I think the same is true about my life. I don't want the trials, and I didn't ask for them. But I'm sure that the joys of life are sweeter having gone through them. And those joys are only a glimpse of a coming day when all shall be joy.
In that day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth. God will dwell with us. We will be his people, and God himself will be with us. "He will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:3-4.)
That is what those who put their faith in Jesus are promised. It is a promise fulfilled in part every day the sun rises, a flower blooms, the skies send forth water, our lungs fill with breath. It is a promise that makes the difficulties of this life all the more endurable.
About those difficulties: Here's the quick update. I went on the irinotecan+Avastin combination in mid-January. Side effects were considerably lower than with the irinotecan-Erbitux combo. That's been wonderful. I have a PET-CT scan on March 29 and will get the results on April 3. Terisa and I would appreciate your prayers for scans that show an improvement.
Two weeks ago I had to go to the hospital for something much more mundane -- gallstones -- but man alive! I'd never had pain like that before. My doctors were worried about intestinal perforation, a rare side effect of Avastin. Thank God it was just a common illness. I was treated exceptionally well by the doctors and nurses in the Mission Hospital ER and CICU (I guess my thick medical file got me the deluxe treatment in the ICU). I will be back for gallbladder surgery in mid-April. In the meantime, and until about six weeks after surgery, I cannot get Avastin for cancer treatment because it can cause wound healing problems. So, please add to your prayers that the irinotecan alone will be effective. I will touch base with you again after the scans.
And, if it's raining where you are right now -- literally or figuratively -- stop for a moment and thank the One who will bring life from the rain.
Thanks for reading, and praying, and being part of our lives.