If there has been a theme to this year, it has been “waiting”. Patience is not my forte, and patience is cultivating through having the opportunity to wait. And to be honest, I hate waiting. I don’t enjoy not knowing what is going to happen or when it will occur.
Now, to a person who doesn’t have a lack of patience like me, a year centered around waiting may not seem too bad. But this year has been one of the hardest that I can remember and has involved waiting on some heavy things. On December 31, 2013, Husband-Man started to feel sick to his stomach. This may not sound like a big deal, but an upset stomach quickly progressed into abdominal pain, jaundice, lethargy, and a greatly diminished appetite. When I say his appetite was greatly diminished, I mean that at one point, I was tracking his food intake to make sure he ate enough calories keep him from wasting away. (He is tall and skinny. He lost more than ten pounds, and he didn’t have ten pounds to lose.) Husband-Man NEVER got sick, and we spent the months of January, February, and March waiting to find out what was wrong and going to the hospital for expensive and painful tests. Three months of waiting to find out what is making your best friend and partner curl up on the couch and refuse food is torture. We couldn’t DO anything. We couldn’t give him medicine and make it better. We didn’t know what he should eat, if he would eventually be able to work, or if he was going to die. We’re both twenty-five. I never thought that at twenty-five we would have to face something like this.
Eventually, we found out that Husband-Man has autoimmune hepatitis. (Most people think that hepatitis is a virus, and sometimes, it is. But, the word “hepatitis” literally means inflammation of the liver. I know more about the liver than I ever thought I would need to now.) This disease essentially causes his immune system to attack his liver, causing damage that if caught too late, can lead to liver failure. His liver damage was pretty bad, but not bad enough that it was irreversible. We waited three months to find out that he is the kind of sick that doesn’t go away. We’ll deal with this for the rest of our lives.
He’s taking medicine now to give his liver a chance to heal, and we’ve very grateful to God that he was diagnosed early enough to make a difference. Husband-Man had been planning on teaching abroad before he met me, and if he had followed through on his plan, he might be dead right now. After he changed his plans of teaching internationally, he planned on getting a teaching job straight out of college. He couldn’t find a job and he didn’t want to teach. If he had found a job right after college, he would have lost it because he got so sick. He graduated college in December of last year, and if he’d gotten sick sooner, he wouldn’t have been able to graduate. So many other things in our lives have been timed, without our knowledge, very carefully around this sickness, but you get the picture.
I spent three months of this year crying out to God, worried and afraid for my best friend’s life. I’ve spend the months after his diagnosis still worrying, and I still having to remind myself that God has a bigger and better plan then I can imagine. In Isaiah 55:8-9, it says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God loves my Husband-Man more than I do, and has orchestrated this year for a reason. I may not like this year so much, but this morning, I woke up next to my best friend. He’s doing okay. He still doesn’t feel great and may have spent the last week learning that his stomach can’t handle one of his new medications, but he’s getting better. His liver is getting better. And, he starts a new job on Tuesday. God is working, and all I can do is sit back and wait. I may cry a lot about it, and I may not understand. But when I cry to God first, I know that he can handle my snotty mess. He is in control.