Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch. ~E.M. Forster
I've put off writing on the subject...and put it off...and put it off. Waiting for a trigger, a sign to tell me, Okay, it's all right to speak it out loud now.
As many of you know, my son-in-law Mike battles cancer. Bravely battles cancer. Has fought it tooth and nail.
You want to see a REAL alpha male in action? Meet Mike. Through brain surgery, one-and-a-half years of chemotherapy, lumbar punctures, needles, needles, needles, nausea, hair loss, weakness, he has never cried. He's much stronger than me, that's for sure.
Oh, he DOES cry. Everytime he talks to me about my daughter and tells me how strong she's been for him...he cries. He gets a teeny bit beta then. When he tells me how much he loves her, he cries. When he thinks--even for a moment--about that unthinkable prospect of ever leaving her behind, he cries.
But I don't strike off marks for THOSE tears. He's still an amazing alpha male. So alpha males really DO exist.
My thoughts today, though, are on other things.
Pain. A pain that is not physical---damn, how I wish it was, because maybe there would be a med to take for it---but of the heart.
During this illness, I've ridden along on the tide of the faith Mike and Lyndie have had. I was weak. But if THEY could be strong, so could I.
But recently, some crisis arose in the course of Mike's journey. New fears, a relapse.
A gripping pain spread through me---the type I've not experienced since my daughter was small, when she would be hurt, crying, sad, scared---when she called me one day to tell me that Mike had had a spell of speech disorientation and temporary vision loss.
This time, my children were both afraid. That faith---Lyndie's famous (and annoying to some..lol) cartwheels and pain, sunshine and rain attitude began to slip.
The agony of seeing fear in your children, in hearing your child slipping in her strength, of hearing the begging in their voice to tell them things ARE going to be okay, aren't they? They're big guys, they're not going to come out and ask that, but you can hear it in their voices. That grasping for a light in the dark.
And the reason I broke down to write about this today is because, once again, my daughter seems to feel the need to aplogize for her optimism, her insisting on being positive.
I have no idea where the need arose, I just know she posted an update to those on her list in apology for NOT posting all the grim details of Mike's disease which she chose not to dwell on. That same old criticism she's suffered all along for being too positive, for being upbeat...for choosing to HOPE, to have FAITH.
So...listen up, people.
I can tell you first hand that Lyndie IS very aware of every grim detail, every morbid possibility, ever reality of this disease. Beneath all those sunny cartwheels beats the heart of one of the strongest, most courageous women I know. A woman who DOES know the truth, but chooses to face this monster in her own way.
The world NEEDS more Lyndies. I need her positive reinforcement, because I'm much more negative than she, and I would worry my son-in-law into a much worse state if not for his strength and faith as well as Lyndie's. So thank heavens for those who DO hold out on hope. They hold the rest of us wimps up.
And what the hell happened to having faith anyway? What's wrong with having faith?
Faith is, contrary to what some may think, is NOT denial. Faith is shining a big, blinding bright light in the face of darkness. Faith is fighting. Faith is tough. And, damn it, it takes a hell of a lot more courage to have faith than it does to settle for defeat. A lot more.
Faith is a big, brawny brute with clenched fists, fighting its way through the grimness that could easily destroy one's strength.
Sherwood Eddy said, Faith is reason grown courageous.
Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens, says J.R.R. Tolkien.
And my favorite, favorite one of all, from William Wordworth, Faith is a passionate intuition.
So, Mike and Lyndie, continue in your hope, in your faith, in their strength.
And ol' Mom will be right there with you in my heart.
He who has faith has... an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well - even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly. ~B.C. Forbes