Dreams can seem so very real.
If only there was a way to magically turn them into reality.
Not all of them, of course. So many of my dreams are ridiculously bizarre. There was the one featuring a baby Elvis, complete with a white jumpsuit, rhinestones, and thick mutton chop sideburns, calling out to me from a hospital crib. More than 30 years removed from college, I still dream about arriving late for a test wearing nothing but underwear.
If I could choose, I would pick the dream I had just the other night as the one I want to become reality.
It was so peaceful. My entire family, including my late father, was gathered at my brother’s cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. The place was bursting at the seams with unfettered joy. There was my sister Nancy, walking around, helping out in the kitchen, talking and laughing without a care in the world. We were all a thousand miles from fear and anxiety. Stress and worry were not invited.
Best of all, this dream was cancer free.
The alarm clock brought me back to the truth.
The reality is that Nancy’s fifteen-year journey with breast cancer has reached a steep and rocky climb. Cancer is throwing boulders down upon the entire family. There are issues with leaking fluid. Her bilirubin counts are high. She’s too weak for treatment. The boulders come faster, larger, and uglier. Nancy is tired of ducking and dodging. She has to be, although she will never admit it. We try our best to shield her, but the rocks keep coming.
I feel so helpless.
I alternate between anger, confusion, fear, and the faith that tells me God is right here in our corner. I plead with Him to take Nancy’s pain, to give her peace, but I’m afraid He’ll answer. Rather, I fear His answer won’t be on my terms.
Nancy, meanwhile, shows no sign of surrender. She is weak and terribly frail. Pain is a constant companion. And yet, she doesn’t complain. Imagine watching boulders of discouragement roll your way day after day, hour after hour, minute by minute. No one would blame you for crying foul. Nancy doesn’t do it. She’s kept her sense of humor and her bright spirit. She keeps me buoyed with her positive attitude and her refusal to stop fighting. She is the embodiment of courage.
This is my little sister, my only sister, and I’m driven by a brotherly urge to protect her. If cancer had a jaw, I’d punch it. I’ve offered to send her my liver. I’ll carry her on my back the length of the Appalachian Trail if necessary. I have no clue what that would accomplish, but I’ll do it. Nancy, meanwhile, asks only one thing of me.
So, that’s what I’ll do. I know that God has deep pockets filled with miracles. He is a loving God who does not want Nancy to suffer. He loves Nancy more than I’m capable. His is a powerful love full of peace, comfort, and healing. That’s just what little sis needs.
When we talk or text each other, I try to make her laugh to take her mind off of the pain. We talk about her coming to Atlanta for a visit, of hiking the Appalachian Trail together, of racing The Freeze at an Atlanta Braves game. We’re only half-kidding.
And dreams do come true.