Anger 3: The Moments in Our Story

Just a moment.

We are all just one moment—good or bad—away from our whole life shifting course—good or bad.

I think about this a lot when people look at me with those sad eyes. I think about how close I was to being shattered at a time when I didn’t even know it. Just a moment. Just a scan. Just a conversation. Just a diagnosis.

I think about how close everyone else is to being shattered without even knowing it.

Just a moment.

But I also think about the good things. I think about how close I was to falling in love right around the time that I resigned to the fact that maybe it wasn’t in the cards for me. I think about how quickly a date night following a hard, horrible, season turned into a proposal, a season of planning and celebrating.

I think about the seasons when I thought I would be totally alone, and then I think about those who just showed up, changed me, rescued me.

Just a moment.

Good or bad, we are all just a moment away from a total life shift.

And we don’t typically get to dictate those moments.

Don’t get me wrong.

We make decisions every single second of every single day. This matters. This impacts us. It can help write bits of our story.

But did I choose Andrew, or was he chosen for me?

I have no answer for you there. Because theoretically, it could be both, either, or neither. Andrew didn’t originally intend to cross my path. He actually intended to go to a different college than the one we met at, but he changed his mind last minute.

Was that human? Was that choice? Was that fate? Was that faith?

And in this case, does the answer to the above question, impact the answer to the next- Who wrote my story? Who wrote our story?

Me? Andrew? God? A random choice of us all?

One day, about a year ago, Andrew and I sat down and wrote out a month-to-month timeline of his cancer journey. When we got a year in, when I wrote down the word, “remission,” Andrew sighed and said, “Imagine if it just ended there.”

I did imagine. I imagined if the journey was only a year long. I imagined where we would be if we got to stay on the course that we dared to set out on following that day. I imagined a world where the following April didn’t have those bad moments, the ones littered with words like “relapse” and statistics in the single digits.

And that’s when I realized that I am not writing my own story. I never have been. I’m making decisions that help to guide me in a bigger story, but I am not the writer of this life that I live.

If I wrote my own story, these words, and these statistics, would not exist in it.

If I wrote my own story, the pages would be filled with words of joy, words like healthy, happy, family, babies, career, dreams.

It wouldn’t include the words of my most current reality, words like tumor, malignant, chemo., prognosis, hospice, memorial, widow.

When my scope is only as broad as my own life, I like this idea of control. But when I expand that, when I choose to trust that there has to be a big story written by a big God, I realize that the story I would choose to write for my own life probably wouldn’t align with that one.

And in that thought, I breathe a sigh of relief in the fact that I wasn’t given a choice.

This is my story. This is my life, my pain, and my joy. It is a beautiful, and excruciating, and uncontrollable concoction of choices, the ones I made, the ones Andrew made, and the ones made for us.

Because even in our choices, we had no control.  

That’s the thing about the Job finish from last week’s blog that people don’t understand. We don’t actually want it, not when we have to lose the things that we love in order to get it.

Job didn’t get complete reconciliation. He got double what he had before, but even if God told him what he would get at the end of it all, these doubled blessings, do you think he would have chosen them? Do you think he would have heard about a plan involving the loss of his entire family and say, “Oh, but I get a better one after that? Okay. Proceed.”

I don’t think so. I think from a human standpoint, that logic would be psychotic, sociopathic. A doubly blessed life did not replace the things he had to lose, and given the option, I would guess that most people wouldn’t be interested.

Sure, when we’re already in hell on Earth, when we’ve already faced the loss, we start thinking about how we might eventually find the good in it. That’s what brings us back to the point I made last week. But before we enter hell, or at least before we go deeper into hell, we want nothing to do with its fire no matter what diamonds we might come out with on the other side.

When I was faced with the possibility of losing my husband, there was nothing you could put in front of me that would make me choose the loss.  

You could have laid out God’s entire plan for my life. You could have told me all about any Job-like finish that may be in store for me. You could have clearly dictated how my loss will play into God’s greater plan for all of humanity. I can tell you with confidence, it wouldn’t have mattered to me.

I’m human, and the most human part of me tends to not care about the impact of a greater plan when it comes at the cost of the person I loved the most.

 I don’t think I’d ever be able to choose God’s plan for my life, for this season, knowing the losses involved.  

But no one gave me the choice.

And in a sense, that infuriated me. But in a greater sense, it was a relief, still is. It’s a relief that sometimes the hard decisions get made for us. It’s a relief that God’s good plan drives forward, even when we drag our feet in the mud of our own humanity.

Sometimes we get a choice in our story.

But sometimes we don’t.

Sometimes we get doubly blessed after loss.
Sometimes we don’t.

Beautiful girl, none of us dictate all of the moments that shift our life– good or bad.

We just shift with them.

About a year ago, I came to the realization that I am not the sole writer of my own story.

About a month ago, I came to the realization that maybe this fact is a good thing.

Because I know my own self well enough, I know my own heart well enough, I know my own humanity well enough, to be confident in the fact that given the choice, I’d write this story wrong.

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