“Not all powers are spectacular. Sometimes the hardest power to master is the power of yielding.”
(Hestia, The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan)
Control. Over emotions, circumstances, crises, people– most of us have this automatic response to try to be on top of them. I know I do. But we can’t always be in control of everything.
Duh. Of course you know that already. I know that too. Every time I mess up or witness something or someone fall apart within an arm’s reach, but unable to do anything about it, I am reminded keenly that there are just too many things that are beyond my help or control. But, oh, God help me, I still try. I fight until I get to the end of my strength and even my sanity. Yielding is the final option, but I hardly even think that far.
Which brings me to Elvie. People who follow my facebook and twitter statuses would probably have heard about her because I got to donate blood to her recently and have been looking for more donors. I met her in 2008, but I got to know her better just this year, when I got to work with her in the Single Adults Ministry (SAM) at church, and recently, when we started a Bible Study at her house.
Elvie is dying of cancer. Invasive ductal carcinoma, histologic grade 3. She’s at stage 4 already and the cancer has spread to the spine, bone marrow and liver since it was detected in 2005.In the past few weeks, she’s been in and out of the hospital. She stopped her chemo routine because it wasn’t working anymore, and now she’s trying a new one. There is a tube plugged through her stomach to drain it of fluids regularly. She has lost all her hair. She is so thin now that I’m scared I might break her whenever I give her a hug.
She is only in her 40s, still too young to die. Sometimes, I don’t even want to acknowledge it because, really, what can you say? Last Friday, she texted me, telling the facts of her situation flat out– “Alam mo, sis, pwedeng matigok ako anytime…” Her hemoglobin and platelet count is dangerously low that if it gets even a little lower, she could die if she doesn’t make it to the hospital in time and immediately get and injection and a blood transfusion of blood type A+.
But you know, she’s one of the most optimistic, joyful and positive people I hang out with right now. She still shows up at church and the SAM activities when she can. She still goes to the office! She even told me that, even as she is scared of the pain, she’s grateful for her cancer, because if she hadn’t gotten sick, she wouldn’t have experienced this full-on dependence in God, and seen just how much He could take care of her. It may sound cliche and trite, or even crazy, but coming from her, her gratitude is so real that it’s sometimes baffling.
That’s Godspotting for you.
By yielding to the fact that she could succumb to her sickness at any time, Elvie has her priorities straight. Each day counts. She keeps on going so that God’s power and glory can all the more be shown in what’s left of her days, and to see the people she has shared the Gospel to grow closer to our Savior. But she has surrendered her sickness to God. She is ready to go whenever God calls her home. Her only prayer is to be able to keep on serving until the end. She is no longer afraid of death because it is already welcome any time. She is free.
See her victory?
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”