I have struggled the past month and have had overwhelming feelings of depression creep up on me. I increased my meds, and my prayers, and both seem to be helping.
Steven has given me comfort and he probably doesn't even know it. It is the conversations we have, both light hearted and serious, that have made me feel stronger and more capable of getting through this. I see glimpses of who he is, and has always been, and that gives me encouragement and hope.
Still, I wondered if, like me, he had fear that was lingering all too close to the surface.
After spending the morning in an old hospital room, now converted for outpatient services, we were trying to kill time in whatever way we could. He had already had the chemo, but the blood transfusion took four hours.
It's a long four hours when all you want to do is be home.
We laughed and talked about random subjects but, seemingly out of nowhere, I felt compelled to ask...
"Steven? Are you scared? At all?"
Without hesitation he said he wasn't.
He shared that he, of course, wanted to live. He wanted to see the people his children grew to be. He wanted to grow old with me.
He wanted, very much, to live.
However, fear wasn't part of the equation if he didn't. He stated that he prayed every night that God would heal him and forgive him of his sins...but that he knew without question that God's will would be done, and he wasn't afraid of that.
Generally when Steven spoke about the possibility of not overcoming the treatment, or disease, I was filled with fear and anxiety at the thought of it. However, that day, in that room, I was filled with nothing but peace at his words.
Our conversation that had started off so light hearted, had become increasingly deep.
Steven shared that, although he wasn't afraid, he DID wish he knew how this all would turn out.
I had just written about the very same desire. In the moment he spoke the words, I could so clearly see the danger in knowing what the future held.
Without thinking I said, "No, you don't!"
I explained that I had prayed for the very same knowledge. I felt the future would be so much easier IF I could only know that Steven would be ok. But then, in that moment, I could see exactly what we stood to lose with that very knowledge: countless blessings.
I told Steven to think about what our lives would be like IF on September 5th, in the midst of the pain surrounding his diagnosis, God came to us and said, "Guys. Really. Relax. Steven, you will be healed. You will have one transplant, using your brother's cells. Yes, the same brother you haven't spoke to in ten years. It will fail. You will relapse. You will have a second transplant with an unrelated donor and you will eventually be cured."
I know what Steven would have done, given THAT knowledge. Being hard headed, and stubborn, he would have REFUSED to reach out to his brother. He would have said, "Um...thanks but no thanks, God. I'll just skip ahead to the second transplant."
And knowing his brother, Jammie would have refused to reach out to Steven, feeling that it wouldn't really matter in the end.
But, oh, how it has mattered!
God has unfolded a story that has yet to be completely told. Maybe someday.
But in the meantime? What did that "failed" transplant do?
It changed lives.
Steven now has a brother that he speaks to every day. They both end the conversation with "I love you".
Steven and I both have two nephews who are incredibly kind and loving. They make Steven laugh in a way I haven't heard in a long time.
My kids talk about their cousins with pride in their voices and have marvled at how seamlessly they have came together as a family. "They just fit."
As Blake, in amazement, pointed out, my kids now have an aunt who "loves us even though she is just getting to know us".
Blake, my child who is slow to warm up to people, immediately latched on to his uncle Jammie, declaring that he was "his new best friend". They are, in Blake's words, "buddies".
And there is so much more.
The healing that Steven has experienced since his "failed" transplant has had nothing to do with leukemia. The wounds were much deeper and the prognosis, believe it or not, was much more grim.
God healed Steven and Jammie both with that "failed" transplant. The transplant that neither would have taken part in if God would have shown them how it would all turn out.
How great is it that we ARE NOT in charge and DO NOT know what the future holds?
If God was to tell me today that Steven would not survive this disease, what blessings would I fail to give, or receive, because I couldn't get out of the fetal position, or out of bed?
Today I am thankful that I do not know what tomorrow holds...but rather WHO holds it.