The first rule of Marriage Encounter: you don't talk about Marriage Encounter.
[oh wait; that's Fight Club...which is the exact opposite of Marriage Encounter.]
The first rule of Marriage Encounter is this: feelings are neutral. They are neither good nor bad.
Feelings are neither good nor bad.
Let that sink in, Feeler. We don't "feel" like that's true. It "feels" like our culture values thoughts and diminishes emotions. If we feel, then don't we need a "good reason" for feeling an emotion?
That's what I've believed most of my life. If I'm an emotional wreck, I've got find the justification for being emotional. It is NOT OKAY to cry the entire day. It is not okay to feel like the darkness is closing in. It is not okay to feel like there may not be any hope left; that all the goodness has been used up.
I've had those days. More than once in my life. And usually, my mode of operandi is to push those sad feelings way down and far away. ...which does not work, by the way. For some reason those feelings become thoughts and those thoughts get so loud that you can't ignore them if you wanted.
Anyway, that's where I've been the last two weeks. If you look at two weeks ago, my grandma died, we moved out of our brother's and into our own apartment...and, the survival mode I have been in started settling more into "real life." I've been at my new job for a month now, and I'm getting into an advising schedule. It's becoming a "real job." I don't know about anyone else, but I can overwhelmed with thinking about "the rest of my life." One of the blessings of survival mode has been the requirement to focus only on today; to let tomorrow worry about itself. "Real life" seems to require forethought, planning, etc. So, maybe "real life" is freaking me out.
Whatever the cause, I have been FEELING ALL THE FEELS this week!
It doesn't make sense.
We got good news at the doctor on Tuesday.
Why would I feel sad?
1) Crying doesn't have to mean sadness. Crying is just my body's way of letting go of the feels.
What I feel...is a mixture of things. Relief, gratitude, fear. FEAR. We got good news; what is there to fear? I think it's a little bit of delayed fear, really. We asked our doctor on Tuesday what "stage" Dan's cancer would have been classified as. She said Stage 3 because Dan had lymph nodes effected above/below the abdomen (in the neck and abdomen).
For whatever reason, that label made it seem 'scarier' - even though Dan has been responding AWESOMELY to treatment and the doctor is very confident. Knowing the stage, just...made me so THANKFUL that God orchestrated our lives in such a way to get an answer in 6 weeks at Mayo and get in so quickly at the U of M with a doctor so committed to getting Dan treated.
We don't know how long had the cancer. But, my "what if" mind definitely runs to "what if" we had listened to the Tucson doctors? "What if" I thought, 'oh, we're moving to Michigan this summer; going to Mayo doesn't make any sense' and not filled out the request to be seen? All I can respond is THANK GOD that we didn't! THANK GOD that He kept pressing us. THANK GOD that He gave those doctors the insight that I'd been begging Him to give someone!
I'm very thankful for our doctor. Dan is very comfortable talking with her and trusts her, which is good. He rarely feels that way about doctors. She is going to add a 'spinal tap' chemo treatment for Dan's last 3 rounds. The current treatment does not penetrate the central nervous system (brain/spinal cord) - and the lymphoma can hide out there. A PET scan wouldn't pick up if lymphoma has moved there...it would only be detected in a year or two when a relapse happens. Ain't nobody got time for a relapse!
...which I get. It's just...it sounds painful. I don't want Dan to go through more pain than he has to. ...and yet, just like the initial chemo, I can't take it for him. He has to go through it. I can, though, pray for him, and just be ready for whatever. So, praying friends, even though it seems like we're out of the woods - keep those next 3 rounds in your intentions!
...and I think that's the last part of the feels. It's not over. We're halfway in; halfway through; halfway there. We're in the part of the race where you hit your stride...but you also start to wonder just how much longer there is to go.
So, I'm a feeler. And I've been feeling my feelings today - and that's the only way to relief, I know. I have to recognize, acknowledge my feelings, voice them...write about them, and let God into them. I only know how to 'let go' of my feelings, by letting God into my feelings, thoughts, fears, and hopes. Then, He leads me to truth...and relief...with acceptance.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3