Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May we Remember

I doubt many of you remember much about November 11 besides the fact that it was Remembrance Day.  Admittedly, I do not remember anything to do with Remembrance Day besides wearing a poppy.  But that day was not special to me because we remembered the brave men who fought for freedom or because we recited the poem I remember memorizing in elementary school...
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
  Between the crosses, row on row,
  That mark our place; and in the sky
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below
 No I do not remember heart warming stories from veterans or stories about hope through the despair of war... Instead I remember hearing "the guns below" of my own kind.  Since my visit to the doctor at the walk in clinic just five days before, I had gone for the chest x-ray (which came back completely clear - so no 'silent pneumonia for me), went to see my own family doctor (who is amazing and has remained to be throughout my journey!) as things continued to get worse, and had more tests done.  I no longer could sleep with just one or two pillows but rather needed five if I had any hopes of breathing while trying to sleep, I was more exhausted than ever, I could barely walk from my bedroom to the kitchen in our small apartment without getting short of breath, and was getting a bit worried that something horrible may be going on.  But I kept on going because that is just what I did.  I did not have to teach Sunday School that week, which was a relief as I had been teaching almost every Sunday since September as I attend the first church plant from Village Church and it was still small and in need of a lot of help.  I do miss those kids, they were great, so much fun, and their answers always so honest.  I remember we were talking about what it would be like if we were walking in the garden of Eden with God and one girl said she thought it would be like "walking on a rainbow with all the beautiful colours" - I think she may have been on to something, can you even imagine how beautiful that would be? (I hope you pause to actually imagine that)

Back to November 11.  I was at church with one of my dearest friends and remember sitting beside her with my hands on my knees just trying to breathe.  I did not stand during worship... I just focused on breathing.  I barely listened to the message but remained calm as I thought it would pass.  On our way home (Esther drove as I did not feel up to it... and since that day have not driven) I remember thinking maybe I should get to the Emergency.  Half way home I decided that breathing was something we too often take for granted and indeed should be going to the Emergency.  I remember sitting in the Richmond Emergency focusing on trying to breathe, the TV coming in and out of focus, people walking around me (including a dear high school friend who was volunteering!), and my family rushing in to be by my side.  After waiting an hour or so (I think at least!), they got a bed for me.  I was freezing and could not seem to have enough of the blankets from the warmers.  More tests were done but still nothing could be found.  As a student nurse, I wanted to know what lab values were off, what spot was in my lungs and then fix them!  But that was not the case.  All was normal - they could not do anything for me.  And so I was sent home by another startled and confused doctor with orders to come back if anything changed or got worse.  

So on a day when we normally celebrate our country's freedom, I was feeling more and more confined, confused, and helpless.  I do not like that Remembrance Day will now always remind me of my own struggles when I know that the people who fought for freedom went through much worse than this disease.  I pray instead that when I wear a poppy again, I would not think of my struggles or even their struggles alone, rather I pray that I would think of His blood shed for me, for them, for us all.  I pray that the poppy would symbolize freedom in Christ above all other freedoms.  I pray that the poppy would cause me to remember the pain but also the peace that Christ gave me that day but that I would not stop there.  That I would remember the fight that Christ has won through conquering the grave, instead of remembering my feelings of the grave or the graves of soldiers alone.  But more than that, the cry of my heart is that we would be able to wear our struggles, pain, and grave-like times on our shirts as we wear the poppy.  That we would be vulnerable and open with each other.  That we would share our hurts with our family, friends, and especially the church.  Obviously this looks different for everyone and some things are best not broadcasted to the world, but I pray that we would not wait until November 11 to remember sacrifice, suffering, and pain but rather we would live in the reality that all is not always "good" and live in the truth that it is in and through suffering where Christ meets us, holds us, and reigns victorious!

Lest we forget.


  1. Rebecca, So beautiful. What a wonderful thing to be reminded that Christ meets us in our suffering. It is incredible to look all the way back to the beginning of the journey and realize how far you have come and how faithful God is. I love you. So glad you are blogging and sharing your story. Love Emily

    1. Love you tons m'dear. Thank you for faithfully journeying alongside me. I am blessed by you.

  2. Rebecca, I had no clue about what you have gone through! Reading this is surprising because I never expected it! Know that my prayers are with you! I am amazed by the strength you possess, and your attitude and faith in God despite your circumstances. Stay strong.


    1. Thank you so much Julie. I hadn't shared much before for a couple of reasons. Until now I hadn't felt ready or comfortable to share my situation. My concentration and cognition have been affected so it makes writing hard (and at times impossible). But the main reason I had not shared much about what I was going through was because I felt like I had to have things together. I was scared to be vulnerable and at times remain that way. But God has blessed me with courage, strength, and a story to tell - a story that continues.
      I miss you and hope I can make it to Guatemala again sooner rather than later!
      Love and blessings, Rebecca


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