I told my friends, "If Roy’s PET scan comes back clear, you will likely see me on tonight’s news because I will be running around all over downtown Birmingham shouting and praising God like an old-timey country preacher."
(Most of you who know me personally, or have read about our journeys during the past few years, know the physical and mental agonies we struggled through and the way my own personal faith was tested by fire throughout those times.
This will likely be my last article here about those struggles as we approach the 1-year anniversary of Roy’s death in August. But it has been a journey that has cemented my faith in God and my true realization that this country must return to its roots of the simple life or we will all fall.)
Going back to that PET scan day … Roy had undergone a grueling regimen of daily radiation and weekly chemotherapy that had zapped his strength for months.
We often had to leave our rural home before daylight to reach the hospital and clinic so there were many times I fed and watered my animals with the aid of a flashlight hoping no more snakes were tracking my movements! Twelve or 14 hours later, we’d return home. He’d collapse in his recliner or later on his hospital bed, and I’d check on the animals and shut the chickens back inside, once again with the aid of a flashlight.
This would be the second PET scan … one scheduled six weeks after the first rounds of extensive treatment. I was praying for a HUGE miracle. I was not ready to let my husband of 34 years leave this Earth. Thus the statement of how I’d be reacting like the old timers at many church services of old before too many of us became staid in our pews and afraid to let our emotions show and flow.
There’s no doubt in my mind I would have indeed been "shouting from the mountaintops" if that test had come back showing the cancer was GONE.
But, as I drove down Birmingham’s First Avenue, just as we came off the viaduct and waiting to turn left to go toward Kirklin Clinic, God spoke to me in my heart just as plainly as if He had been sitting between Roy and me.
The simple message was that I should be willing to praise God ALL the time no matter what the tests results were because we had already been blessed beyond measure in our lives ….
I didn’t say anything to Roy about what I’d "heard." But I was thoroughly chastised. And I won’t ever forget that lesson ….
It’s a religious debate that goes back as far as Job in olden times:
Why do good people suffer? Why do so many bad things happen in this life?
Why are some people miraculously healed when others who appear to have even more faith, suffer and die?
Several years ago my cousin’s beautiful young wife was in the last throes of cancer. She had been before the church and many prayers, public and private, were said daily on her behalf. But she was dying a painful death and leaving a young son and loving husband behind.
How do you explain that?
Or walk the halls of any children’s hospital or see the commercials on TV of little ones suffering from cancer.
Surely that can’t be the result of a loving and merciful God ….
I don’t know the answers. Just like thousands before me haven’t known them.
After that PET scan did not show the cancer gone, there were more months of treatment. Finally, Roy said "enough is enough" and we stayed home with no more trips to Birmingham.
He died in our living room in his hospital bed, quietly after a gallant fight.
Several other tragedies happened that same week to my little family.
I have a degree in religion. I don’t have any answers.
But I CAN tell you what I KNOW.
God has walked with me EVERY step of this way.
I do know this Earth was not intended to be a place of sorrow … man brought that on himself.
You can argue theologies and religion and doctrines from now until doomsday and you’ll never figure it out either. I don’t care if you read all the Holy books of the world in their original languages and have diplomas covering your walls.
Some would even argue that all the trials, tribulations and tragedies of this world prove there is no God.
I am a simple woman trying her best to live a simple life.
But I can tell you definitely there is a God.
The week I am writing this I traveled to St. Clair County to write an article about the archery shop in the Co-op there. They still had a few day-old baby chicks.
I had an Easter-egg hen still setting on eggs in my carport that I knew were not going to hatch. I brought five little day old chicks home and placed them in a box with that young hen.
She immediately began clucking to them, and snuggling them beneath her wings. The baby chicks seemed to sigh together, "At last, we are home," as they snuggled beneath her feathers.
There’s a Scripture talking about God spreading His love out and sheltering us as a hen protects her babies.
I don’t have the answers. I don’t even understand a lot of the questions. But this I know. I am sheltered and protected with God’s love just as those tiny chicks are loved by their adoptive mama hen. We may walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but, in the long run, it will not matter because traveling through that valley is the way we reach the mountain top.
Suzy Lowry Geno is a freelance writer living on a small farm in Blount County and can be reached through her website at www.suzysfarm.com.