I’m a Survivor: Part V: Retro Worship
Something you’ll discover about me if you spend more than, oh, 30 minutes in my company, is that I am a bit of a neat freak. I abhor clutter, and find great joy in ridding my house of no-longer-needed items. It is because of this compulsive side of my nature, that I was quite surprised to discover a mountain-like stack of papers while digging through my desk last week. I immediately began to thumb through them and froze. These papers were over 6 years old. These papers were prescriptions, hospital orders, and pamphlets from back during my time with cancer and chemotherapy. I pushed them aside momentarily, not ready to embark on such an emotional trip down memory lane. Last night, however, I decided to sit down, take a deep breath, and do a little bit of reminiscing. Here’s just a little of what I found:
These are various pamphlets and books that I was given at the beginning of my treatments. Reading all those drug names had me hurtling back in time to a place when my everyday vernacular was filled with these terms as if that was normal. It was jolting and odd to realize I had been given each and every one of these drugs, all during a 6-month span.
This was a very typical hospital administering form. What jarred me most about it was the diagnosis line at the top which so very clearly states: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It is beyond surreal for me to see that.
Perhaps equally daunting is just one of literally hundreds of medical bills that we received during this time. To see each treatment listed out in an itemized fashion makes it seem all the more real and large.
This one got my a little teary. This is the receipt for the wig I purchased to wear while I waited (im)patiently for my hair to grow back in. Wow, wow, wow.
Recently, at our church, we did a series on worship, and the concept of retro worship was introduced. It simply means looking back and thanking God for all He has done/been. Last night, looking at this enormous pile of my past, I was overcome with gratitude, humility, awe, and wonder. When I think back on this time of cancer, I do remember some hard days, the pain of cancer and all it entails, and the trauma. Above all, though, I have a sense of peace and calm, thinking of how in the time I was going through it, I was carried so graciously by God. He held me close and helped me to find joy and beauty, even in the most unlikely of times.
Now I sit here 6 years later with tears in my eyes and praise in my heart. The reality that once was my life is no more. After going through these things, I made a decision to throw them all away. They are part of my past, and the thing that most remains now from that time is a sense of gratitude to God.
If you find yourself in a tough spot right now, look back. Chances are that you can think to a time when life was hard, and God was there for you and with you through it all. There is so much power for today in realizing what God did and who He was yesterday. Try some retro worship.