Saturday, January 25, 2014

Birthday, Uncle's Death and Breast Cancer: The Theme of Life Throughout My Week.

One of the weird things I like to do when watching a TV show is figure out the episode's theme. Whether it's a kids shows or an adult sitcom, there always seems to be a theme, or a moral to the story. 

Sometimes, I can't help but think that there is a running theme in certain seasons of our lives. 

Since my school year started, I feel the running theme has been death and life. I feel this theme has been most apparent this past week. 

On Monday, it was my 28th birthday. How can anyone not think of life on their birthday? I know 28 is still considered young (to some people) but I am grateful I've made it to this age. I had such an amazing day, as I was showered with love by my friends with a surprise cake, love notes on my bedroom door, handmade gifts, donations toward my missions trip and many facebook birthday wishes. I felt loved and special. At the end of the day, I asked God "why did you allow me to have such a beautiful day? It was such a gift.". 

The next day, I realized what a gift my birthday truly was as I got news that my uncle in El Salvador had passed away. Once again, I was faced with the theme of life...and death. My uncle Nelson was a special part of my upbringing in El Salvador. Every Friday, my older brother and I would go to my grandparents house to sleep over. My uncle Nelson lived with my grandparents and would act bothered by our weekly visits. He would say "ay vienen los monstritos!" (Translation: Here come the little monsters!). Yet, when we didn't visit, he would ask "where are the little monsters?". He acted like a tough guy, being all annoyed, but I know he truly liked having us around. Now, my uncle is gone. It was unexpected as he was the baby-or the youngest- of his family. I am grateful that my uncle knew Jesus though. This is the hope we have in Jesus, that death is not the end, but those who believe in Jesus will see each other again one day in a new body. Believers will be resurrected and given a new body, because Jesus resurrected and was given a new body. But that's a topic for another day! The hope of the resurrection though is what redirects the theme of death back to life. 

To end my week, I had what my doctors called "the last follow up appointment". You see, in the summer of 2012, I was told I might have breast cancer. By God's grace, the lump in my breast was found to be benign (non-cancerous). However, the oncologist wanted to monitor it closely for a while, in case there would be malignant growth. So, I went to my follow up appointment and the ultrasound technician's friendly chatter died down a bit. She seemed to be concentrating on what she was seeing on the screen. I wondered if my lump had grown. She said she had to go show the doctor my results immediately. She asked me to wait. During the 20 minutes I waited, I thought "what if I have cancer?" I thought about the satisfaction I have in the life I've lived in Christ. I have no regrets. I would be happy to go if I needed to. After all, the apostle Paul said "to die is gain" (Philippines 1:21). The gain is that we would see Jesus! The ultrasound tech came back and said "You're okay. You don't have to come back here again. No more follow ups.". What suspense! Sheesh! I went to the bathroom to change back into my clothes, I looked in the mirror and prayed "I guess it's your will (or plan) for me to stay here a little longer, isn't it God? If it is, then let me live for You and do big things for You.".

It was time for my uncle to go this week, but it's not my time yet. This life, let us live it for Jesus. We are made for Him. 

"Thou hast made us for thyself, and our heart is restless until it 

finds its rest in thee.” -Augustine, Confessions.

On the topic of life, here's a little song I have in my head at the moment: