It’s my father’s voice when I answer. His resigned tones that shudder over the phone line. Words that I have never heard before are read from a medical report. Two words that I know well scream from the shuffled pages. Cancer. Invasive.
How dare cancer invade my mother’s body? I would do anything- crawl inside her and fight the wayward cells myself- if only I could.
After I hang up, after I call my husband who promises to get home as soon as possible, I click through my contacts for her number. It was only hours before that we had spoken. Talked and prayed together. She is the one who has been devouring Scripture with me. Reminding me, again, of my burning love for the redemptive words of God.
“The biopsy came back,” I say and my eyes give way to the burning. I’m talking. I don’t remember what I tell her. My words fade in relevance when she speaks. And her words I remember clearly.
“Psalm 91 is coming to mind,” she says and begins reading. And the roaring, flowing, crashing waves of His presence transcend distance. Living water on a burnt soul.
In the desperate there is only hope in that which lives eternal.
Later, when I sit beside my mama, reading through medical reports and talking of surgery and radiation and how to avoid chemo, she whispers, “Nights are the hardest. During the day I know that I’m going to be okay but at night, I fear death.”
“Wait,” I jump up, go hunting. I find a Bible. I tell her of Katie and Psalm 91. I read the words and we laugh in joy at verse five. Her eyes close and her breath calms and God is there. Right there.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (1-2)
You will not fear the terror of night
nor the arrow that flies by day
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness
nor the plague that destroys at midday. (5-6)
“Because (she) loves me,” says the Lord,
“I will rescue (her); I will protect (her),
for (she) acknowledges my name. (14)
Thank you all, who joined in prayer for my mother yesterday. The surgery went well. We have to wait for tests to come back to know if the cancer had spread. Praying they got it all.