It’s Not In The Contract, Man


Sun over Lake with TreesHave you ever had one of those moments in life when you’ve thought to yourself, “hey, that’s not part of the contract/agreement, man?” A couple of weeks ago I awoke in a massive amount of pain. It was not the pain that frightened me as much as its location: right chest and armpit, radiating down my right arm. I had read and seen enough infomercials to know that according to the “experts”, I should hightail it to the emergency room. But those experts don’t have two small children and a husband who leaves for work at o-dark-thirty. So I took a couple of naproxen sodium and waited for improvement that never came. I limped my way through the day with growing anxiety. By the time my husband walked in the door, I was so scared that I practically flattened my husband when he walked in as I scurried out the door to urgent care. Once there, I waited for 2 hours and spent the time telling myself that well, if I had to wait so long, they must not be too concerned about my symptoms. Was I ever wrong! The doctor examined me thoroughly then sat me down to discuss the “course of action.” I was to call the local hospital’s mammography department immediately first thing in the morning to schedule a mammogram and ultrasound and probably a needle biopsy. I was also given a prescription for narcotics. Another sure sign to me that things were dire as there was a stern sign in the exam room stating that urgent care cannot, under any circumstances other than post-surgery, prescribe narcotics. By dawn, I was a mess. I had cried until I had no tears left. My mind and heart were racing, the pain was slightly less thanks to the narcotics but – I might have breast cancer. What would this mean for my children? For my spouse? For my parents? This just couldn’t be happening. I began to do what any typical American Christian would do, I turned to God with the intention of bargaining, namely whining my way out of this mess. I figured I would begin with something like, “hey, God, this was not in my Christian living contract, man…” and go from there. But then a strange thing happened, instead of whining about my pain and fear and impending death, I found grace and peace. Suddenly, just as I was about to begin bargaining, this voice clearly spoke to me, “so you have cancer. You will call Lisa and she’ll give you some great advice and hook you up with awesome medical professionals. You have such a strong support system in your bible study, church, friends and family. And of course, I will be right here with you. No matter what tomorrow brings, it will be according to My Plan.” That night and the following night, I was still unable to sleep but I was comforted. I spent the darkness in prayer, recited scriptures and sang songs of praise until dawn. The day of my imaging appointment, I was ready for anything. Thankfully I don’t have breast cancer but my faith in God has never been stronger. Contract or no, promise or not, we cannot see what lies in store around the next bend or our life. I have learned to embrace this moment right now. I am grateful for my noisy dishwasher scrubbing in the background just after midnight as I am typing this in my quiet home as my family slumbers. Dawn will bring a new, amazing and unpredictable day full of challenges and pleasures. I will choose to linger over the joys and learn from the challenges. How will you live in the moment and honor your contracts today?

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