Melissa and I have never communicated this portion of our journey with anyone until now.
Even as I typed this post, tears gathered in my eyes. Reminding me of the potency of this moment; a moment draped in meaning.
Monday, March 12th 2007, the day before my 38th birthday.
I remember this day as if it were yesterday. I was awaiting a phone call. My whole family was awaiting a phone call. You might suspect the call was one of birthday wishes. Not this time. Rather, were awaiting a call from Melissa’s ENT specialist. He had received news from UNC regarding her recent biopsy.
We waited all day for this one phone call. I do not remember what I did during the day. All I remember is waiting.
Waiting . . .
Waiting . . .
The phone must have rung dozens of time that day. With each ring, my heart skipped a beat. None of those calls were the call. Finally, just before 5:00 p.m. our phone rang. This ring was different, somehow. I knew it was the call I had feared. I spied the caller ID hoping for a friend or family member. Alas, it was the ENT.
Though my mind told my hand to resist, my body won the duel. Before I knew it, I had the receiver pressed firmly to my ear.
“Hello,” I said.
“Mr. Gainey, please hold for the Doctor.”
“Yes, I’ll hold.”
“Mr. Gainey, this is Doctor Spector. I have the results from UNC. As I suspected, the test indicates that Melissa has Follicular Lymphoma, Stage 3. I have scheduled an appointment for Friday afternoon with an Oncologist through the Florida Cancer Institute. I am sorry to bring this news, but you need to know that her cancer is beatable and her chances of survival and living a long life are quite good. She is both young and strong. I will put my nurse back on the line.”
“Thanks, Dr. Spector. Goodbye”
Somehow, during the course of the phone call, I had made my way to our laundry room. I shut the door and cried. I didn’t ‘ball like a baby’ (that was to come) because I knew I needed to speak with my dear bride. I began to exit the laundry room as she entered the hallway. Her face told me that she knew the results before I uttered a word.
Words are crucial; they serve as our closest connection to reality. So my mouth put words to that which my eyes had already communicated: “The tests are positive, darling, you have lymphoma. We have an appointment this Friday to proceed with treatment.”
In* that moment, we cried. We cried painfully, tenderly and wonderfully together!
The next few days are a bit murky. I remember well our Friday afternoon appointment with our oncologist, who was the first clear sign of God’s goodness and grace. More on that later! For now I simply hope to present three moments of awakening that will help frame my current emphasis on Spiritual Formation.
3 moments of awakening that have lead me into this journey of Spiritual Formation:
- Moment #1: My journey out of porn addition into my truest, most deeply human self (you can read this brief story (in a previous post) by clicking the following link, https://disruptusrenovatus.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/a-grime-ridden-grace-filled-moment-a-personal-story-of-transformation/).
- Moment #2: The discovery of Melissa’s cancer, which exposed both great and glaring weakness and established both wonderful and grace filled strengths (the focus of this post).
- Moment #3: An evening at the grill: an evening to change all others. It is the catalyst behind the previous five and – with hope – the next twenty-five years of my life.
Disrupting to Restore!
*Perhaps ‘at’ is a better choice of prepositions. It is important, however, to note how I use the meaning of ‘in’ when speaking of experiences and moments that offer life. Though our conversation took place ‘at’ a certain time and place, Melissa and I were ‘in’ the moment. It was as if the moment opened wide before us and swallowed us whole.