When you usually think of receiving a Welcome Packet, it is most often associated with some happy moment or milestone. Think along the lines of your college acceptance letter or the Welcome Wagon letter you receive upon purchasing your new home. Joy…pure joy comes from these letters. Pride oozing from your eyes knowing you just received news that would change your life for the better.
Well, last month I received a welcome packet of my own. No, it wasn’t a college acceptance (that ship has sailed) and it’s been a few years since we got our Welcome Wagon letter (does anyone ever use those coupons?). But it was definitely a milestone. You see, it was a Welcome Packet for MD Anderson Cancer Hospital. Not a letter I ever expected to receive…ever. Not a milestone I ever wanted to have…ever. But I found myself reading this very welcoming, lovely packet and almost feeling like I was outside my body watching someone else read it. I had been very strong, accepting my diagnosis, ready to take it on and kick it’s A$$ (I apologize, but sometimes bad words are just appropriate). But while reading about the hospital and seeing my medical record number written clearly and plainly next to my name, it hit me like a brick…I have cancer. Of course, I already knew that, but it hit me deep in the recesses of my heart and for the first time in weeks since my diagnosis, I broke down in tears. But Will was there, as he’s been from the start, to hold me. That is all I needed at that moment. Part of me felt guilty about crying. Was I not trusting the Lord enough? Was I being too weak? But quickly I realized that the answer to both of those questions was an irrevocable “NO”! I am trusting the Lord completely. It is the only way I am able to be so strong (most of the time). But I am human, and those tears that fall when I do break down are the tears of living water. My Lord cries for me too. This isn’t what He wanted for me. As our pastor said in our series on suffering (how’s that for timing?), it is easy to trust the Lord when it’s raining down Skittles from the sky (I would prefer M&M’s, just saying). But when the hard times come, where will you turn? I turned to God, hands raised in praise and thanksgiving, because that is what He expects of His people.
So, I have mixed feelings about that Welcome Letter and personal milestone. Looking beyond my emotions I saw the amazing things that MD Anderson can do for me. I read a caring letter that made me feel like I was the most important person they would be treating. I learned a number that would be my new ID for the 6 ½ weeks of treatment. I will keep that number proudly, knowing that it will be the number that I look back on with joy, knowing that it will change my life for the better. That may sound strange, but I’ve already seen the blessing bestowed upon me because of this. My eyes are opened to accepting them. So, while it isn’t a milestone I would’ve ever wanted or expected, it is one I will take with pride, just like that Welcome Letter.