My oncologist comes into the room, a smile on her face. Clean scans. A full 11 months with no new evidence of disease. I am elated. My mind begins to buzz.
Now what? Three months before my next scan. There is so much to accomplish. Family vacations. Time with friends. Serving others. Cleaning closets. (Ugh! Why does that one always pop up?) My mental to-do list grows. It almost explodes through the top of my head, like a paper-tape calculator gone awry.
Incredible! My oncologist is amazed. I am amazed. I am thrilled. And I am — above all — grateful.
So grateful that I am stuck on my face.
Remember the Sunday School story about the 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus? The song I learned to go with that lesson has become my not-so-welcome earworm this week. “Ten unclean and nowhere to go. Ten men cleansed as white as snow. One returned to give God thanks. But nine went away.”
Not a morning goes by without my prayers of gratitude. Faith, family, friends, fortune, fame.
OK, not fame. But, it is enough that God knows me inside and out. Yet, He continues to honor, cherish and adore me in the midst of all my messy stuff. My frustration when my body doesn’t work like it used to. My questions with the diagnosis of another friend with cancer. My envy of others’ seemingly perfect lives.
And then, with the dawn of each day, it strikes me once again. I have been given this amazing gift. I have been healed. Not of cancer, which for me, according to my doctors, has no healing this side of heaven.
Instead, I have been healed of my need to wade in the pity pool. God is teaching me what is important.
Not a perfect life, for that would not bring me the kind of joy that comes only after sorrow. Not answers, for that would not satisfy my human understanding of what is fair and righteous. Not even health, because it has been through the sickness of my body that He has begun to heal my soul.
I wake the morning after my scan report. I expect to find new direction for this gift of graciously given time. Instead, I am paralyzed by gratitude.
I can scarcely breathe. It is numbing, this knowledge that God continues to pour out His mercy to me beyond anything I could have expected. I am blessed, honored, called to praise.
Wallowing in gratitude. Wading in mercy. Wonder-struck at His love. I wait for Jesus to tell me I can get up and go. Until then, I remain prone at his feet.
Amazed. Humbled. Gratefully stuck on my face.
“One of them came back to Jesus, shouting, “Glory to God, I’m healed!” He fell flat on the ground in front of Jesus, face downward in the dust, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a despised Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the nine? Does only this foreigner return to give glory to God?”
And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.” — Luke 17:15-19 (Good News Translation)