Holding It All Together


Sustain Me: Notes on Cancer, encouragement for cancer patients, stage four cancer, stage three cancer

I was driving to work today and had to look over my shoulder at the beautiful — I mean lovely — sky. Sunlight streamed through clouds like a calling card from God. Made me think the sky could part any moment. And right then as I flipped around channels between Christian, country, and a favorite Christian CD, the (ahem) perfect song caught my ear…

“I’ve got… two tickets to paradise… pack your bags we’ll leave tonight!” (God, are you having some fun this morning over the radio frequency with our human lyrics? Are you trying to tell me something about the Rapture?); “We’ve waited so long, waited so long, We’ve waited so long, waited so long” (like over 2,000 years); “I’m gonna take you on a trip so far from here” (yes, heaven would qualify); “I’ve got two tickets in my pocket, now baby, we’re gonna disappear” (I’m sure there are lots more than two tickets… but God if you say it’s time, let’s go!).

So, moving on from Mr. Money’s song…. I turned my thoughts from questionable lyrical theology and back to a doctor’s appointment the day before.

“Do some people have to live with stents in their kidneys long term, like, all their lives?”

I asked my quarterly question the other day at the specialist’s office. We were discussing the next stent change. It’s my personal version of a good Spring cleaning. Some people change the oil in their car to keep things running smoothly, I change the tube running from my bladder to my left kidney. Actually I will be unconscious (thank you, God) and the doctor will kindly change the stent.

He walked over to the diagram of the bladder and kidneys posted on the exam room door and pointed.

“This is the area where you have issues internally. Five months ago when we tried to take the stent out, there was still a lot of scar tissue pushing in on that innocent ureter, making it impossible for us to keep the stent out. It wasn’t ready to work properly.” I recalled this from our last visit.

“You also have a number of titanium clips in there from your surgeries. If a surgeon tries to remove both the scar tissue and the lymph node region that had cancer last time, which is the culprit around the stent, it would be very very difficult because of the location and many nerve endings.” I had declined this option after the end of the second round of radiation and chemo because it would mean a permanent colostomy. The strategy of nutrition after treatment seemed to be working just fine at that time. And at this time.

I had forgotten about those clips. And about how ugly it must be in there with all those scars. Holding a mess of old physical trauma and misery all together. I began to wonder how my body works around all that hurt being held together every day? What lets me be able to work; ride a horse; jump on a trampoline; swim; pull weeds; get out of bed?

What if there is just too much having to hold me together for the good to last?

Isn’t that what we’re good at trying to do on our own? Worrying about keeping it all together? We push titanium clips of quick fixes down into the trauma of life’s messes. We frantically try and stem the tide of misery before life drains away.

“Thankfully things look very good right now; you’ve had a rather miraculous recovery, so we’ll see if we can leave that stent out this time. Of course…. “, and he went on to list all the possible complications and things we would need to watch for.

But we could plan to try.

You and I can try. One day at a time. Hanging on to hope in the living God who does, truly, hold it all together. Holds us together. Even if everything else threatens to fall apart.

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Colossians 1:16-18


colossians 1:17b in him all things hold together

2 thoughts on “Holding It All Together

  1. Another excellent post, Sharon! I enjoyed seeing you at Springfield Baptist this morning.

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