Since we arrived home from the hospital, many have asked me how Seth’s doing. My default reply is that he’s been sleeping a lot, so yeah, I guess he’s doing okay? Seth slept 75% to 95% of the time the first two days we were home. The past two days, he’s slept 75% of the time. I did the basic math at dinner tonight, and that means he’s been sleeping an estimated 18 hours out of each 24 hour period. “Seems about right,” I said. Seth smiled with little reply as he walked back upstairs to bed.
I trust Seth is sleeping so much because the trauma his body has experienced has worn him down. I trust Seth is sleeping so much because some claim radiation makes you tired. I trust Seth is sleeping so much because the invisible emotional, mental and spiritual toll cancer has on an individual has to be managed somehow. And I trust Seth is sleeping so much because it’s helping him heal.
Since Seth was admitted to the hospital 10 days ago, I’ve been having an unusually large number of dreams about my trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion, about children and swarms of children. Last night, the dreams went even further back to the dream camera I purchased five months ago. In the dream, I was on location for a photo shoot at a hotel or a building that was very large with long hallways and a lot of elevators. I arrived at the shoot only to realize I’d forgotten my two lenses, so I started heading back to find them, only to forget where I’d left them. It was an ugly cycle of forgetting and not knowing. I had the body of the camera with me, but I was getting distracted by children and people and all I really wanted to do was take pictures. But I couldn’t because I didn’t have my lenses.
I trust I’m dreaming so much about my trip to the Dominican, Compassion and children because I haven’t had an opportunity to fully process the trip. I trust I’m dreaming about my trip to the Dominican, Compassion and children because part of me wants a do-over. As in, bring me back to the morning of January 8, 2015, and let me do the whole month over again, but this time, take away the eye cancer part of it. I trust I’m dreaming about photography because my brain is still way back in September when I bought the camera, way back in December when I stopped seeing patients for speech therapy. I haven’t had a chance to fully process all the old things with all the new things. And the lenses? Well, I’m not sure I have clear sight of anything right now. I’m ready to experience and photograph this new life, but I can’t quite get my bearings. I still need those lenses. I trust God’s giving me vivid dreams to help me process all of this.
Since we returned home four days and eight hours ago, I’ve been daydreaming a lot more than I would’ve ever imaged, especially given the circumstances of eye cancer, caregiving and heavy unexpected responsibility for home and the kids. Yet, I’ve allowed my brain to go there, to places in the future, to spaces I’ve yet to see. I’m still experiencing some of that emptiness, that hollowness I wrote about two days after Seth’s eye cancer diagnosis and the day I left for my trip to the Dominican Republic, on January 10. But I’m beginning to wonder if that’s part of what new normal will look like. What’s next isn’t easy. There’s not a clear paved path, but it is good. In fact, I’m believing it’s very, very good. I’ve sensed strongly for a couple weeks now that I need to go back and weave a few more threads together from the past three years. I know exactly which threads need to be woven. It’s just a matter of sitting down, doing it, and waiting patiently to discern what’s next.
I trust I’m daydreaming so much because I’m clinging to hope for a better future. I trust I’m daydreaming so much because God wants me to believe and trust that He has a very specific and good plan for the rest of my life. I trust I’m daydreaming so much because right now, I’m in a space where I’m living and acting in complete faith. Very little is known. And I’m a planner, organizer, and analyzer. So daydreaming is my way to bridge all of the unknowns with hope for a bright future. I trust I’m daydreaming so much because when it is time to move on to some semblance of “new normal,” I’ll have even more direction and clarity about what’s next. There will be trouble. But it will be good, as promised. God will heal. All things will be made new. And we’ll continue to rest in peace knowing there’s hope. For tomorrow is a new day.