We seek answers. We strive to understand why something happened, how it happened, what it means now that it has happened, where we go from here. The human mind just wants to know. To make sense of this crazy life.
One of the most untenable situations to find yourself in is that hazy gray-foggy place of not knowing. Your loved one didn’t come home on time—did something terrible occur? Your friend was in a bad wreck, and you sit at the hospital waiting for the surgeon to come tell you whether she’ll make it. Your parent goes through a grueling treatment for a terrible disease, and much time will pass before you know if it proved successful.
And then, even when you know the score on any of the above, you can find no answers as to why.
Those answers, often, just don’t exist.
I’m going through that right now with one of my sisters. On pre-op x-rays to replace her hip, a spot was found on her lung. The CT scan showed a large tumor. “Significant” was what the docs said. With other organ involvement.
We know just enough info to freeze our hearts.
Then we waited on the biopsy, its results required before the Petscan could be ordered. And of course all the tests then take days and days for the reports to come in.
All this hurry up and wait is driving us all pretty much up the wall.
Because when all we know leaves so much open to the dark side of the imagination, well, it’s tough to keep the faith. Monsters lurk around every bend. The kind with bloody fangs and gleaming claws. Especially for those of us who have been down the road before . . .
But keeping the faith is the only way to sanity. Oh, not in the “all will be fine!” sense. But in the knowing that there is only one anti-dote to the insanity—hope.
After going through a particularly bad course of life events, I said, often, that hope was too expensive. When you put your faith in hope, the disappointment when bad things happened can be just too much to bear. And from that perspective, it’s surely true.
But I’ve since learned that hope is a different thing from my earlier perception. It’s not hanging onto the idea that healing will come, or that deliverance from evil sits in the palm of your hand. Because sickness will occur. Evil does exist. We will all outlive many we love, and many will outlive us.
Neither hope nor faith will change that.
Faith to me is a belief that there is a reason for this life. We may not have the answers as to what those reasons are, but deep in my soul I know for true that they exist.
I don’t mind at all if you disagree with me—lots of people do. And I’ll never try and change your mind. Your beliefs are as valid as mine—to you. And I understand the Freudian analysis of that—very well, actually. But I’ll take my deep knowing over anyone’s mental analysis any second of the day.
“Faith being the evidence of things not seen” doesn’t mean you lie to yourself, or spout something you don’t believe. But when you get it, truly get it, the understanding is unwavering, quiet, and deep.
Hope, to me, is that knowing that we will go on. That no matter the horrors of the road ahead, both individually and collectively, encoded into our DNA is the will to live, to survive, and yes, even to thrive—despite pretty horrific odds. The we that is all of us—from a spouse to a family to the entire family of woman.
So as I sit and wait for more tests, more reports, more treatment, then more tests and reports after that, with no answers anywhere close on the horizon, I also sit in my faith, with hope in my breast, and love in my heart.
What do you do when answers just won’t come?