Ok, so, honestly? Lent was rough y'all. I cried too much. And I totally stress shopped, albeit much less and mostly for others so I could validate the necessity of the purchase.
I cried in church and I cried while reading and I cried while praying and I cried while thinking too hard.
Spending 40 days in contemplation of someone facing their forthcoming death?
Meditating on the prayer of Jesus when he asks God, "Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."
As with most things that make me uncomfortable (aka devastated), the more I sat with it and processed, and yes, cried- something helpful and useful did come out of it all.
SIDE NOTE (YES I UNDERSTAND THAT IS THE POINT OF PERSONAL GROWTH BUT DON'T YELL AT ME BECAUSE, AS I HAVE NOTED ABOVE, I AM A CRIER.)
What do we pray for?
Most days, my WHAT is pretty simple: Thanking God for every day that I have with my husband and my family, the love and peace we have in our home, and asking Him to bring us all comfort, strength, and healing in the midst of all of our life-changing BS and day-to-day lives. NBD.
Also, a decent amount of begging for my husband to be healed, even if it means giving his cancer to me. I pray most fervently and tearfully at this point. Really doesn't seem like it should be too complicated. But I'm not the Alpha, nor Omega, so here we are.
But, that's ok, right? I feel like that's a pretty legitimate, important, and urgent ask... Because I am just truly not in a place where I can say, "Please do not take this man from us. But if that's not the plan, I understand."
I guess that's where the "strength and healing" come into play. But I digress.
Ok, so, HOW do we pray?
Because the WHAT is inevitable, right? We will all eventually leave this earth.
But the HOW. The HOW is it, y'all. When I pray for his healing, I make it a point to think of a new meal to nourish his body or remember to refill his meds. I pray for his peace and I check to be sure I took MY meds (LMAO but also for real). I pray for his comfort and make a mental note to wash the dog schmutz off his favorite blanket or rub his feet and legs.
And guess what? Sweet Husband feels better when I feed him well. He doesn't feel as hassled when I'm not an irritable basket case. And the man has never once complained after a foot rub.
My point is this: Prayer can be self-fulfilling if you use your prayers to inspire yourself to take control. I cannot physically take my husband's cancer away but I can strengthen his body for the fight. I can advocate for him and help to be sure his doctors have everything they need to make treatment decisions. And when he feels better because of my efforts, my faith is strengthened.
Because I am grateful that I was put in his life to help him through this. I trust that seeing even small returns on our efforts means that God helps those who help themselves. I believe that if we are doing all we can, it just might prolong THAT day.
I don't fool myself into thinking that "doing all we can" will bring any sort of comfort at that time. I think I will always be angry. At the first doctor for not taking SH's early symptoms more seriously, at myself for not pushing him to go back or for brushing off comments from well-intentioned (and completely correct) family members about his weight loss, and yes, still some at God. Because bad things shouldn't happen to good people. And SH is my favorite kind of Good People.
So I'll continue every day to pray for peace and comfort and strength and healing. And I'll pray in gratitude for every day I have with him and our children and our family and the haven we have created for ourselves within our home. Carrying in my heart the unsettling despair of Lent, but also the hope of Easter. The promise of rebirth and reunion and that after the end, there is more.