“We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.” -Romans 12:4
Here is the lesson in wisdom I have learned thus far from having cancer: It would be nice to have more drawstring pants. You know the kind. I’m talking about pants with elastic around the waist that I can pull up with one hand, pants that slide on easy, pants that do not cause me to have to yell: “Honey! Can you come in here and help me put my *#^%^ pants on?!?”
There is just so much that one cannot do for oneself during an illness. People, and I mean this as a public service announcement to all within earshot, people! Do not, I repeat, do not, try to change your own wound dressing. It will be bad for you and for the tape. Just do not try it by yourself. Also, there’s the sponge bath, which is barely a bath period, but if you do not have someone who can reach your back, you might as well just keep the washcloth dry. More than any of this, there’s the feeding of yourself and your family when you are just plain tired out. Thankfully I can lift a fork but if it were not for the parade of food coming through my house brought by my church there would be absolutely nothing on that fork, not on my fork and not on anybody else’s, making the lifting of it quite a literally fruitless exercise.
And then there’s the cheering up of oneself. I’m here to tell you, not always possible. I’m a pray-er and a self-talk giver and a gratitude journal keeper and a deep breather and a Bible reader and I listen to uplifting music and think positive thoughts and all of those good things, but sometimes, somebody else has got to be there. Somebody besides me has to say, “Love you girlfriend. You’re doing great. Let me say a prayer over you, could I?” And this reassurance can come in a touch on the hand, a text message at the right time, a funny card, a phone call, a nurse’s tender care helping me up off the CT table, a lovely orchid sitting on the front porch when I get home, or a visit just to give a very gentle, tiny hug, on the left side, of course.
And if I had more drawstring pants, you know, the kind with the elastic around the waist that I could pull up by myself, by my own bootstraps IF YOU WILL, then I would not have to receive all of this support and love and encouragement and healing and strength.
“It is a powerful gift to receive the Body of Christ,” a friend whose young daughter had been ill told me once.
Maybe you don’t fully know that until you need help. So I’ll put off buying those pants.
“This is my body, broken for you. Take and eat it.” -Matthew 26:26