The last time I face this much uncertainty in my life, I was 25. I was a week away from graduating from college, and I had just found out that I had a cyst the size of a grapefruit on my left ovary. The gynecologist at the college said that I needed surgery as soon as I could get it scheduled. I told her that I wanted to walk across the stage for my graduation, and I wanted to have the surgery at a hospital near my home. So she gave me a referral to a specialist near my hometown.
I remember sitting on the edge of a large sculpture at Michigan State University, looking out to the distance and praying. It was very early in the morning and very few people were out. I can’t remember the exact words I said to the Lord. But I remember surrendering. Not my will, but thine, I said. I could not see the future.
After graduation, I went home and saw the specialist. Before surgery, several tests were done. After the ultrasound of the cyst, he told me that it didn’t look good. He told my mother he thought it was ovarian cancer, but he didn’t say that to me. After the five-hour surgery, my mother said he came out of the operating room with such a look of relief. It was Stage IV endometriosis, not cancer. After eight days, I went home, still not knowing anything about my future except that I wasn’t going to die of ovarian cancer within the next year.
Today, I am taking Ralph to the cardiologist.
When Ralph was in the hospital for pneumonia, they took an echo-cardiogram, and he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and cardiomyopathy. Today the cardiologist will begin the process of finding out the degree of disease and course of treatment. Or at least we hope he can give us more information. I don’t know what the doctor will say. I just have a list of diagnoses at this point.
There are a lot of unknowns in our life right now.
Will Ralph recover enough to go back to work?
Should he go back to work?
If he goes back to work, will they keep him or will his job be gone? His FMLA runs out as of Monday, and he is definitely not ready to return to work at this time.
Will he be able to drive again?
Will his insurance run out? If his short-term disability is not renewed, he will not have insurance through his company. Insurance for him at my company is prohibitive and would take 3/4s of my income each month. I don’t know if we will have health insurance next month.
Will he recover enough from his surgeries and pneumonia to enjoy his life? At what level will he be functioning? What kind of care will he need? Will I be able to keep my job or give it up to care for him?
Will we need to move from our four bedroom house to an apartment? To a condo? Or will we stay here? I don’t know.
How will Mary get to work if I can’t take her? What should her living situation be? It looks like she is going to be hired for the government call center as a computer support person.
I told my friend Trinka last Sunday night, “The last time I had this much uncertainty in my life, I was 25 and facing surgery for the what the doctor thought was ovarian cancer. Only this time, I have more responsibilities.”
I have to think not just about my own life, but about the lives of my loved ones. I can’t envision the future beyond the next month, sometimes, not beyond the next day.
But there are some things that I do know.
I know the God who knows the future.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
I know the God of whom it can be said, “His Love endures forever.”
I know that God loves us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
I know that God desires that we go to him as well with our burdens.
“Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22
I know that God answers our prayers for wisdom. I sure need some right now, but that is what waiting on the Lord is about…waiting to see what he will bring to my attention or knowledge.
I know that God has provided for us through the prayers, and acts of kindness from those around us.