More thoughts on “I wonder”

The other day I shared my wonderings about why I ended up with breast cancer when I already had two handicapped children.  Many new friends and old friends have shared their thoughts and wisdom with me, and given me comfort and encouragement.  One thing has become obvious, though.  I think I’m not as theologically sophisticated as other people are.  Maybe that’s related to the fact that I’ve been teaching second grade Sunday school for so long – it’s a chicken and egg thing  – do I fit there because my faith is relatively simple, or has my faith become less sophisticated because I spend my time teaching the fundamentals?

Second grade faith formation for my students is the sacraments, the Mass, the chuch year and the rosary.  That’s all.  One year, four things.  Simple, beautiful, miraculous.  My class is always diverse in terms of abilities…. people tease me that half can read and half can speak English, and they’re not the same half.  But every child learns and learns and learns these simple, beautiful and miraculous components of our faith. 

We don’t discuss issues like WHY people get cancer and WHY Downs exists, though.  So when I get to wondering about these things, I really need help from my friends.  Kathryn Mulderink, who left an eloquent comment this week, has also written a beautiful book, called “His Suffering and Ours” which I bought after Elizabeth Foss suggested it.  Lately I’ve been reading it in the evenings, when Brian climbs into my bed to read his books next to me.  Sometimes it takes two or three times through a page for it to all make sense to me.  It’s totally worth the effort, and I’d recommend it highly.  But understanding it doesn’t come easily to me.  At first I thought my problem was chemo-brain, but then when I told a friend about my troubles, she told me that maybe I just wasn’t ready to accept my burdens in a deep theological way yet.

I was briefly offended until she pointed something else out to me.  I had shared with her earlier how interesting I found the section for my blog which tells me what search engine terms people use to find me.  Every day several different people come to my blog after searching about breast cancer in nursing moms, or breast lumps during lactation or something like that. 

What if some of those ladies read my blog and decided to take action about a lump they found, rather than waiting months or a year or more until they weaned their babies?  What if therefore those ladies were spared radical surgery and chemotherapy?  What if the research study that I sent my frozen breastmilk for leads to a way to detect risk for cancer before it even causes a lump? 

Maybe I have cancer, and can write about it, in order to save others’ lives.  I’d be OK with that.

9 thoughts on “More thoughts on “I wonder”

  1. proverbs 20:24
    u r right where u should be
    in every way
    keep puting 1 ft in front of the other
    and keep ur head where your feet r
    oht (left)

  2. Your faith is deep and rich. You live it in a very real way everyday. You lived it in very real way before the cancer as well. The example you give is strong–not only with the cancer but in the way you live your life. The gift you are giving through your blog is not only for those who find it concerning the cancer, but for all who read it a see an example of love, hope and faith. They will see an inspiration to live more fully as a wife, mother, sister and daughter in spirit and truth. It saves lives in more ways than one.

    Love and prayers.

  3. Annie said it perfectly!

    I have always considered you a gift…a guide to anyone and everyone that meets you! You are always helping, teaching and caring…your blog is just another example. We visit to check in on you and always end up inspired and amazed by your words.

    I teach 4 and 5yr. olds in Sunday School and know exactly what you mean, but their excitement and acceptance of God’s love makes it so much fun to teach…it doesn’t allow much time for deep thinking, though.
    ( I will work on that…see you’re inspiring me again!)

  4. Ah, but the faith message is simple. Our Lord said to come unto him as a little child. I think we adults think too hard sometimes. I know I do. :)Do we/should we strive to understand Him fully? Of course. But sometimes it is best to just sit at His feet and simply “be.”

    I must admit, your situation has caused me to address a health issue of my own. THANK you for speaking out, for being there, for impacting others’ lives. You make a difference. Perhaps that is your mission…simple as that…

  5. I think you are onto something, Elizabeth. When we do have pain and suffering in our life, and we hunger to know why, we often begin to search for life’s meaning which ultimately leads to God. God is right there in our experience with us. He is right there beside us as we get our chemo, or we are patient with our children. He is with the surgeon, guiding his/her hands. He is there in the nurse that comforts us and wakes us up all night taking our vital signs. God is in our children, who are supportive, loving, kind, and understanding beyond their years. Once the insights come, then sometimes we hunger for knowledge to understand it more deeply. When we share the wisdom we learned with others in conversation, a book or article we write, or a support group we run, we become an instrument.

  6. There are such beautifully expressive people here and it makes me see my limitations in that area. Speaking of “simple faith” ….my mom died of Multiple Myeloma 3+ years ago and her response to her disease, the chemo, the radiation, the pain, the nausea, the shingles, etc., etc…..was simply: Yes, Lord. It was her response in word, in actions and attitude to submit to the path laid out for her. I will never forget the grace with which she met all the challenges during the four years of her illness.

    I see the same grace in you, Elizabeth and I am blesses by it.

  7. There are such beautifully expressive people here and it makes me see my limitations in that area. Speaking of “simple faith” ….my mom died of Multiple Myeloma 3+ years ago and her response to her disease, the chemo, the radiation, the pain, the nausea, the shingles, etc., etc…..was simply: Yes, Lord. It was her response in word, in actions and attitude to submit to the path laid out for her. I will never forget the grace with which she met all the challenges during the four years of her illness.

    I see the same grace in you, Elizabeth and I am blessed by it.

  8. Hi Elizabeth!

    I don’t know if you remember me, I am Harriett’s sister. I think it wonderful that you are turning young minds to faith in God. There is no greater calling!

    I want to remind you that God does not promise that we will not go through terrible times in our lives, but He does promise to get us through! He will get you, and your family through this time. Job is a great example of this, and his friends (and wife) did everything but encourage him.

    You are walking in faith, living it out everyday. There is no more real faith than that. You are encouraging others, when you could be sulking. I am praying for you and your family, for God to continue to give you strength and peace. He is the Great Physician, you couldn’t be in better hands!

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