We took Phoebe in to the Oncology clinic yesterday to have her labs drawn. No one stares at her bald little head on the oncology unit, and an ng tube is no big deal, she’s just another cancer kid. Phoebe was sitting quietly in her stroller coloring in her Dora notebook when I saw her; a woman, a few years my senior, walk out the clinic door into the waiting room. A little boy, maybe 5. slunk down on the floor out of her arms, and splayed himself across the white tile. She slung her purse back over her shoulder and hoisted him back up to her hip. I looked at him then, saw the slant to his eyes typical of Down Syndrome and was overcome. My daughter has cancer, her son has cancer and Down Syndrome.
His mother walked over to the check out counter, dug around for her wallet, and he flattened himself on the floor a second time, muscles limp. I looked at her face then, searching for the familiar tired look in her eyes, scanning for the weary shadow that stares back at me in the mirror. I wanted to say “I have no idea what it’s like for you, and I have every idea of what it’s like..” but she turned to leave and I sat in that red kiddie-sized chair and thought about yokes, and how some of them are heavy beyond bearing.
I whispered through tears to my husband about yokes and some people, and when I looked at Phoebe she appeared so healthy.
Someone is always carrying a heavier yoke. Suffering is relative. And I can’t bear up under all this suffering that I’m surrounded by without throwing myself at the feet of Him who suffered. He knows. He chose it. He obeyed, and He was not spared.
I think about her tonight, how her motherhood is so different than what she imagined when she was a girl, how mine has become that. And I pray that He who was “a man of sorrows acquainted with grief” will shower her with grace for each moment, give her purpose within the struggle, flesh Himself out in her life in the midst of her daily grind. I pray that He would make intercession for her when she knows not how to pray, and these things too, I ask for myself.
There is always someone struggling more…bearing a burden more immense. If I focus outward, I become an encouragement to others and am ministered to in the process. If I wallow, I am self-focused and the cross is not enough.
Tonight I’m feeling thankful…