Light Up the Darkness (A guest post by my husband)

bible and me

Saturday, June 29th, 2013
Cancer Diaries: Day 48
Light Up The Darkness

This is Jason, Jenny’s husband, making my debut journal entry in Jenny’s Cancer Diary. Don’t worry.  She’s fine, everything’s A’OK – well, you know, as A’OK as things can be these days. Apparently my Muse decided to hit me with her Muse-Stick and for once I’ve actually got something to say and the words to say it. Yay Muse.

Jenny has a Bible. It’s about the size of a typical paperback with something not exactly like leather for a cover and a zipper to protect the pages inside, although said zipper clearly gave up the (Holy?) ghost long ago. She’s actually had it for pretty much her whole life, but she only started to use it about a year ago. It was in near pristine condition having rarely been used for decades, aside from some scribbles inside the cover when Jen once got her hands on it at the creative age of 3. But once Jenny started to actually use her Bible, she apparently decided to make up for all those years she ignored it by (ab)using the Beejeezus out of it on a daily basis.

Nowadays this Bible has more ink in it than a tattoo parlor thanks to every color in the Sharpie Highlighter rainbow and every square millimeter of margin space on every page has several rows of her neat & tiny notes. Stuffed in between pages are strips of paper for bookmarks, paperclips for bookmarks, note cards for bookmarks, there might even been a couple bookmarks for bookmarks. I kid you not, she even chopped one of those stretchy plastic wrist bands so popular with the hip crowd these days into two strips so that she could use them as two bookmarks. Needless to say, that not-quite-leather cover is now not-quite-intact.  I’ve tried to convince her to let me buy her a brand new Bible, something with a nice cover and extra-wide margins for all the notes she wants to write, but she will not give up her little wreck of a holy book for anything.  The condition of this Bible has actually become a running joke in an online forum I frequent populated by premium Bible aficionados who cringe at the thought of their goatskin-clad beauties getting the slightest scratch.

Cockroaches. Yes, indeed, I did in fact just segue from Bibles to insect vermin. Trust me, I’m going somewhere with this.

For ages people have shared this vivid meme of cockroach behavior: When you walk into a dark kitchen and turn on the light, suddenly dozens of those gross little vermin scurry out of sight into and under every conceivable nook & cranny.  This cartoon meme always seems to have a plate of cheese on the table, and I bet you never really pay attention to it because it’s so clean and Swiss-looking.  But turn the light back off and you can practically feel the scritchy-scritchy sound of thousands of cockroach legs oozing back into the room and all over that nice cheese.  It’s wicked grotty-to-the-max-dude-seriously.  I’m getting heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

Getting the news that Jenny has cancer was the light going out in our kitchen, and that’s when all our angels fluttered in to light up the darkness.

You call and email and text her every day and send a half-dozen cards to her (and our kids), you send flowers, you tell her every day you are praying for her, you see her at church and give that funny “awwww…” smile and hug her, you cheer her on when she gets a pink mohawk, you cheer harder when she starts to wear scarves because her hair fell out, you take her to chemo and sit with her for hours, you offer to make us food, you bring us more food, you pull me aside when Jenny’s not looking to give me encouragement, you fly across the country to help out with the kids, you drive across the country to visit, you come over to clean our house spotless. You light up the darkness.

Those are the angels we know, our family and our friends and our coworkers and our neighbors. We are so honored and humbled and awed by each and every one of you. We are supported by your love, we are swimming in a sea of your love, we are living each day right now profoundly aware of your love. You light up the darkness.

But cancer is powerfully dark stuff. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, like there can’t possibly be enough light.  The love is great, but – but that is when God sent us still more angels to light up the darkness!

Strangers are sending Jenny cards, strangers are asking us our names so that they can pray for us, strangers are “liking” pictures of our bald heads on Facebook and leaving encouraging comments, strangers are sharing Jenny’s Cancer Diaries with friends who in turn write us to say her words are giving them hope and courage, strangers are walking up to us to say they saw us last week and are happy to see us again this week. Strangers, too, can light up the darkness.

When you segue from one topic to another, people expect that you’ll find some way to bring it back to the original.  If you were expecting that, then I hope you won’t be disappointed.  Indeed, I’ve got a major warm-fuzzy going with this.

So, you remember those Bible aficionados I mentioned earlier? I really don’t know any of them outside of that Facebook forum, but I wish I did. Some of them have seen pictures of Jenny’s Bible and had a good laugh at it’s highlighted dilapidation. Some of them know she has cancer. Some of them are so awesome that they pooled together enough money and sent it to me so that I could afford to buy a spiffy new Bible for Jenny.  It arrived in the mail today. Thank you. I wish you could hear me say that, not just read it, because you can’t hear the gruff choked-up guys-really-you-rock sound coming out of my heart that is truly pouring out of these words. She likes it, and she’s so in awe of such unwarranted generosity that she might not highlight in it. Well, maybe she will by next week.

September 2nd, 2015 12:18 a.m.
Reflection Diary: Day 48
Continue to Light it Up

Jenny is not the only person to struggle with something awful. Too many people – too many families – are, every where, every day. All of you, family and friends and strangers alike, wrapped us in such love throughout this ordeal.  We hope we can reflect all of it and more back to the world, because we know all too well there are a lot of people who need the love we received. They need it as freely and as generously as our angels gave love and light to us when in our dark place.

Before I wrote that entry in June of 2013, I had been listening to Bob Marley. Clearly, he was my Muse that day. He’s right: We each have a responsibility to light up the darkness.


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