Mark and I just returned from the oncologist with the reminder that we’re in this for the long haul, no matter what. The remission that we thought we had in March was, more likely, the large nodule hiding behind a rib on the x-ray. The nodule was visible this time, but still smaller than it had been before. So, still probably good news (assuming the nodule was hiding, not that it disappeared and returned), just not the over-the-top good news we had before.
And this leaves me thinking again about how to define myself. Before our supposed “remission” I was a “survivor living with cancer” or even someone who could make jokes about the nodules in my lungs. Then, when remission came (erroneously), I didn’t quite know how to define myself until I became comfortable with the word remission and then bandied that one about at will.
But what dawned on me when I was getting used the “remission” moniker is the same thing that comes to me today. That I simply can’t rely on a tag like that to explain who I am or what I am in the world. Just as “wife” or “mother” or “guidance counselor” cannot fully explain me. Really the only label that transcends all of this and is ultimately the only truth is the title: Child of God.
And Child of God is really all that I am, all I need to be, and all that is ultimately real when nodules hide behind ribs on the chest x-ray, when I have to expain to Zoe that I do have cancer after all, and when I it takes copious energy to keep my head living only in the day. Child of God.
Child of God.
Child of God who happens to have a tiny cancerous lump in her lung.
Child of God who has a spindly blond girl making art at the dining room table.
Child of God whose husband rides this roller coaster with courage and grace.
Child of God who intends to swim at the park this afternoon.
Child of God. Child of God. Child of God.
This moniker, my friends, can’t hide behind a rib. And won’t change in three months, three years, three decades, three…you get the picture.
That’s my mantra for today. Child of God. Child of God.
And that’s enough.