The following post is copied with permission from the Caring Bridge site for Lisa Treleven who recently discovered an aggressive brain tumor. Her and her husband have given us permission to publish her post here on our blog. Please keep their family in your prayers.
Recall the news stories where you hear about another person’s life-upsetting health emergency? Though your heart contracts with compassion and you do something to help, you secretly sigh with relief that it didn’t happen to you?
Well, it’s happened to me.
And a little bit, to you, too. You’re either someone who knows me or know someone who knows me, because you’re here, anxious for an update, part of the tsunami of love and concern that has washed over my family and I since the news spread that I have a brain tumor and it must be removed — quickly.
I can feel for myself how people in this situation straddle denial and acceptance, do what the doctors tell them, and begin taking measures to fight back. But, if they’re anything like this 55-year-old abstract-sequential girl, they also think, think, think, think. I lie awake all night, every night, stimulated by steroids and this conundrum, talking to God and composing. Tonight I’ll share a sliver of that stream.
You don’t have to stay with this; I won’t be brilliant. Please forgive me when I go too far or touch a nerve or use the words “I” and “me” too often. It’s inevitable because I’m speaking through my experience, and, for heaven’s sake, I only have two days until who-knows-what’s-next.
The first wave of battle is over: we’ve chosen our surgeons and their plan of attack. This Friday, I won’t get to sip my morning latte and work in my office as usual. Instead, I’ll lay my head down, submit myself to anesthetics and a saw, and gifted men whom I’ve just met will cut into my brain. This ice-cold smack of reality forces me to accept the truth we all face every day but glibly deny: we’re mortal. A kind of end that we don’t want is coming.
But if absolute finality sets the border on life, we behave as the most irrational of creatures, wouldn’t you agree? We dream of a different dimension. When grieved, we seek meaning. When bereaved, we lionize, memorialize, refuse to let go. Knowing that every relationship ends in a painful good-bye, we love anyway.
Don’t tell me we’re purely material; the evidence screams otherwise. If all you want is a universe of random chemical reactions, genetic selection, and chance, then you’ve chosen an impersonal machine. You must surrender concepts such as right, wrong, good, bad, justice, hope, destiny, faith and love immediately. They cannot exist in a machine. Either this is all there is or there’s more.
Long ago, I concluded that a supernatural dimension exists, and love is the proof! We cleave and cling to our beloved, knowing all the while that the investment will only increase the pain of inevitable separation. It just doesn’t make sense . . . unless time present extends into eternity, the road there is paved with sacrificial love, and our relationships are the only thing we take with us.
Can I ask you to indulge me? I’m emotional and tackling the mysteries of the ages, feebly, I’m sure. I started this subject too far back, laying the ground for the metaphysical, and many of us likely agree it exists. I want to go farther, to talk about Who I found in that supernatural dimension, or rather, Who found me. I yearn deeply to tell any listening ear how His love not only paves the road, He Himself IS the road!
When I lay quiet, I’m continually talking with the only God there is, and frankly, the only God I’d ever want. He’s here, just as present as my husband Joe beside me, but He never sleeps. He wants to know every anxious question and answers them with promises made and fulfilled in eternity past. He’s not just a comforter, teacher, encourager — what good will knowledge and a brave face do me if it goes ill in the next few days and I have an impotent God who can only weep alongside me? No! I believe in and I desperately need the other parts of His nature: His utter inability to do anything other than good to me; His beauty and majesty that surpasses anything I can imagine; His wisdom that eclipses mine; His unassailable authority over my life; His absolute power over time, circumstance, and death; and His merciful, generous, condescending love that propels Him to use that power on my behalf and rescue me!
I need a big God, and I have one. His name is Jesus Christ. I wish I had time to tell you what He’s already done for me; if He grants me the time, I’ll try. Please understand these are not positive thoughts, this is power. He’s asking me if I trust Him, if I’m willing to bet everything on Who He is and what He’s promised.
“Jesus said to the woman, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies . . . Do you believe this?” (Luke 11:25)
Yes, I believe.