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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The After

You may be wondering where I’ve been. That is, if you’re even still there at all. I’ve been in the after.

You get cancer and everybody is there. They bring you casseroles, hold your hand and ceaselessly encourage you. Then they see that you are good, healthy, moving on… and so do they.

It’s hard to tell people what you need when you don’t really know yourself. It’s been hard for me to put words to paper or sentences to prayer expressing my feelings for the last several months.

I’m living in the after. After the cancer. After the casseroles are gone. After the handholding ends because life’s crazy pace has picked back up and everything is back to normal—except it isn’t. It’s different. It’s after.

After the cancer.
After the junk.

Did you know, according to Google, aftershocks are smaller earthquakes that follow a larger one in the same area. They occur due to the area settling down and getting used to the new state of stress that was brought about by the mainshock.

I spent the last year adjusting. Adjusting kids to new schools, friends and schedules. Adjusting the husband to a new job, responsibilities and routines. A few months ago I realized they were all adjusted—but I wasn’t. At.all.

I got curious about aftershock so I Googled some more and I discovered that aftershocks can occur months even years after the main event.

I’m living through some aftershocks, y’all.

And I know that God is still here. In the after. I know that His promises are true. “Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

That passage goes on to say, “For it is good for the heart to be established and ennobled and strengthened by means of grace.” (13:9a)

I know God is asking one thing of me in the after: To trust the same God I trusted in the cancer.

To receive the same grace that carried us through the “stuff” to carry us through the “little” daily problems that “normal” life brings.

No matter what you have been through or are experiencing now, His grace is available to strengthen your heart. I would love to pray for you, just leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

I have been thinking of you recently and had wondered if you are ok. Thank you for this post from your heart and for sharing. I haven't experienced cancer so I can't relate in that regard but I can try to understand. Here's a small cyberhug to share with you and to say that I hope that your health continues to be good. I know your faith runs deep and your reliance on the Lord will be your strength. Blessings.

Leah Gillen said...

I'm living there too Lisa! Twenty-three weeks after the suicidal death of my precious husband, and I find the immediate outpouring of comfort, casseroles, and care has all but ceased. However, like you so beautifully pointed out, the aftershocks are still there. And...some of them feel just as jarring as the original earthquake!

I'm praying for you!

Anonymous said...

I too, am living in the after...after a cancer diagnosis, after a bi-lateral mastectomy, after chemo, after taking (still am) estrogen blocking drugs, after my husband's debilitating stroke, after our son's move to Russia to teach, after our son came home, went back to school in another state, after a whole lot of things....please pray for us. You understand. D.


Ah sweet, Lisa, I have been wondering if you were okay. I just had my sister write a series on my blog about her cancer experience and what it is like to live in remission and it was then that I thought of you.

Thanks for saying it is still hard. It is important that we know this. I am sorry it is hard.

Praying and sending a virtual casserole. (It is the best kind, as you can imagine it to be your personal favorite.)


ps. i am dealing with some afters of my own. Let's pray for each other.

Cindy said...

Oh Lisa, What a Super post!! I too, as many others, live in the after of loss. On Christmas Eve of 2010 my precious Mark met Jesus face to face. At first, so many walked along side me, yet today, I walk alone. I know that my God walks with me, but the world does and must go on with life. So we live in the after of a tramatic and life changing 'earthquake'. And the after shocks keep coming.
But what joy we find as we realize that it truly is In Him we find our stablility and ability to walk through each and every tremor.
Blessings to you sweet Lisa as you continue to journey your 'after', but also your 'NOW'!!!

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

I love your honesty, Lisa. This is really important for us to know--especially as we have friends who may be going through the same thing. It's never really over, is it?

Sending lots of love and hugs your way.

Kim said...

Oh, Lisa...I hear ya! You spoke the words of my heart. It's amazing how the afterquakes still shake a person's world. I am praying for ya!

Emily said...

I'll be praying for you Lisa!

Amy said...

I've never left a comment before, but I felt I just had to this time. Your post really touched me - my mom was in remission for many years and she never really explained how she felt about having cancer and then about being ok. Eventually the cancer came back and now she's with Jesus. Thank you so much for sharing so openly, I'm sure there are many others who can relate. I pray that you would feel His arms around you, comforted, able to rest in His hug. I also send you a big hug!! I will be praying for you!

Denise said...

I was just passing through a few days ago and wondering where you were! :o)

I have never thought of the analogy of aftershocks but it makes a wonderful word picture, doesn't it. A world that keeps rocking for months to come and sometimes felt only by you.

Why is it so easy to trust in the "big" stuff but rarely in the mundane?

I hope and pray this is a welcome back, my friend. Praying for you! Grateful that you will do the same!


Danielle said...

Yay! Finally. I didn't think it was going to let me comment.

Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, girl. I love you and am so glad that words came. You bless my heart with your honesty!

Melanie said...

I feel the aftershocks quite often. Felt one today as I looked on a high cabinet shelf and found some of Andrew's meds. Made my stomach churn and tears well up.

It's very difficult to be living in the "after" around others who were not in the quake...just observers, concerned for sure, but not having had the earth move under their feet.

BARBIE said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings. I cannot imagine what it is like going through this "after" stage. May God draw closer to you than ever before.

Sara G said...

Sending hugs! Aftershocks - never thought of life and dealing with circumstances but yep they are there. Have a stroke almost 2 years ago I'm still having lots of aftershocks. To be honest for me life will never be the same as before. Still recovering but I don't regret because I am learning so much about God and dealing with life. His word and living in His arms makes life easier to deal with and those aftershocks fade.

Much love to you! Trust Him to light your path.

won said...

I would love it if you would lift a prayer for me. It is the memorial month of my eleven year old daughter's passing from brain cancer, so it is a very tough time.

I'm also waiting on a legal decision for my son's future that has me on pins and needles and with nightmares. Would you please pray for favor for me in that decision?

Mining for Diamonds said...

Hi, Lisa. I too have been away from bloggy land. I love how you have written this post. I've been away because I have been in the midst of my own metaphor...for me it has been a hurricane! I've been researching hurricanes just like you did earthquakes, and God has been using it to teach me about where I am right now.

Your transparency and honesty is beautiful, and even in the hard places, you give off the fragrance of Christ. Many blessings to you.

Jenn said...

thank you for sharing this lisa.. this really encouraged me a ton! it only has been 1 week since my dad was diagnosed with cancer and had the radical surgery ... but i know we will all have the aftershock period.. so thank you friend :- )