There are two versions of the patient room in my oncologist's office. The one I lived in today was cheery, cozy, friendly, The light was yellow, the table was hard. Last year's magazines, frayed and pleasantly dog-eared. This side of the office is okay. It's the place where the people who know how to save my life are.
There is another version of this same office though. It's gray and hazy. I sit on the table but don't feel it. Pick up a magazine but don't read it. This office is filled with fog. Foggy memories, smoky black. Bad, bad stuff is floating in this room. It's the place where people tell you about percentages, side effects, and illness. It smells of tears and unlived years.
I am always aware of both offices. The safe side is unassuming, blank, sterile, not quite warm, but nothing to be scared of either. But just passed it I see the other side. Through "the looking glass" the gloom and fog is still there. Teasing me and reminding me that, try as I might, I cannot escape bad news forever. I'm not angry at this black and white version of the room. It has to be there. If it weren't there, if there were no danger, then the other version of the room, the one I'm presently in, wouldn't be as sweet.
Today I went to the oncologist for my three month exam. I didn't know which version of the room I'd be in. Bad news isn't the only thing that can push me from the real-life room to the imaginary, dreary one. My attitude and doubts can, too. God was with me today. As always.
I got only good news: Less medicine needed. Fewer scans prescribed than I'd expected. Go. Smile. Be happy.
And so I went. And I was.
Because God is merciful. And because I know. That even when things are good, and I'm sailing through life, shadows are never far away.
Lord, help me to remember the pain. Help me always be aware of how to share your unending light with those who still fear the night and don't yet accept that you are the way out.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."