I’ve been having kind of a “dry” couple of weeks. And by dry, if I’m honest, I mean I’ve been trying to ignore God. I’ve been staying distracted and really kind of lazy. Spiritually I haven’t wanted to grow, or be convicted, or put in the effort with God. I’ve been hiding behind the simple distractions in life and the excuse of being weary from cancer. Ah but God won’t let you stay there, no sir. That tugging at your heart, that conviction you feel when you are looking to Netflix to comfort you when you know you should crack open your bible. It’s more work, it’s not instantly mind numbing or gratifying, but it’s the better way. It’s hard for me during this season of cancer. I’m doing chemo and while it’s buying me time, it’s not curing me. It’s palliative. It’s a stepping stone before my death. The cycle is difficult to navigate. You get chemo and it makes you sick for the first 2 weeks, then you have a one week window when your tumors are smaller and you don’t have the side effects of chemo so you feel almost normal, then bam, tumors are hard and angry and growing again and you are reminded of your permanent state to come once the chemo stops working. Which could be any day now. Once it stops working, that’s it, outside of a miracle. So it’s been strange and difficult and I have tried to numb the confusion and anxiety of it all by distracting myself and staying in a form of denial.
Here’s the reality.
Last week, I planned my funeral. Literally. Adam and I went to the funeral home and I picked out a coffin, I picked out a funeral package, I answered questions like, “Do you want to be refrigerated or embalmed?” “Do you want a viewing?” “Do you want to be buried or cremated?”, I even went outside to pick out a plot of land that I will eventually be buried at. Heck, I even picked out what kind of design I want on my gravestone. I planned my funeral.
Now most of you will never plan your funeral. For some of you it will be because you had an unexpected death, some of you will just avoid going all together. It seems gruesome, it seems depressing, and it seems unnatural. That’s not exactly wrong. I sat there staring at the various coffins on the wall and as I walked outside past “Here lies dear old dad” and “Our Angel”, I stopped at the little plot of land under the tree. I stared at the blank space that will eventually say, “Hayden Palm”. I imagined my loved ones coming to lay flowers on the gravestone that I picked out. I imagined the tears that would fall on the stone, I imagined Adam standing under the shade of the tree telling me about his life, but most of all, I imagined the despair and sickness I would feel if I stared at that plot of land and thought, “this is it”. This is it, all that I would end up being after 24 years of life would be a pile of bones under a gravestone near a tree. What a bleak and bitter end. What hopelessness, and how depressing. I too would avoid planning my own funeral if I was just planning on becoming dirt. Instead, instead I have a greater hope that this is far beyond it. That plot of land is not my forever home. My home to come is far better than anything I will ever be able to imagine. And because of that I was able to stand there, under the shade of the tree, next to my grave, and thank Jesus.