These past few months have been difficult, to say the least. It's hard to move on, to think about the future, the road ahead, when the daily struggles of life feel so burdensome. I tell myself that I have to homeschool the children, I have to edit the third book, I have to clean the house, balance the checkbook, decorate for Christmas, fix the snowblower, etc... while another part of me says, "Who cares about it all? Does any of this matter?"
While my head says, "No," my bones, my heart, and my God say, "Yes!"
When you find yourself standing at the foot of cliff, staring up at the mountain before you, reaching the summit seems impossible. How do you overcome such an obstacle? How were we going to make all these trips to Philadelphia? How would we navigate a huge city in which we've never been? How would we navigate such a life-changing event?
Fear tells me that I may lose my grip and fall. Fear tells me that every horrible situation is lurking around the corner. It all seems too much to bear. Many times, I had wished I could find a place to run to escape these problems, but no place exists. You just have to stand up and face them.
The reality is perseverance is difficult. Giving up is easy. That much is obvious. But it is in the midst of darkness where the smallest light becomes most noticeable.
When I hadn't been consumed with stress and worry about Liz's condition, I had been trying to live a "normal" life. I edited my third and final book of the Scar of the Downers Series as I homeschooled my children. It was difficult moving on with the "mundane" in such a emotionally turbulent time. Again, I would ask myself, "Who cares about tomorrow? Who cares about it all?"
Then I would think of Liz and the faces of my four daughters. I would painfully and reluctantly tell myself that I can't give up. Not yet.
It was during this time when I prayed and pleaded to God for good news. This whole situation had spiraled out of control and I felt so lost and helpless. A firewall was needed. A bottom was desired. Just one word of hopeful and encouraging news is what I wanted.
This past weekend we made yet another trip to Philadelphia to attend a couple more doctor appointments. One was with Liz's dermatological surgeon and the other was with her oncologist. We did receive hopeful news from both doctors. The dermatologist said that her face was healing perfectly, while the oncologist said that her lymph node biopsy came back negative. While this doesn't change her future care, it does provide encouragement for the moment. It was a pinprick of light in a very dark tunnel.
That is one thing I've been made aware of throughout this whole process.
How powerful a small word of encouragement can be!
It was at this time that I didn't care about a book deal! I didn't care about a high-paying, impressive job. I didn't care about a great house or any other temporal thing. What I wanted was good news, that's it. I didn't care about birthday presents, birthday cake, or anything like that. I cared for one thing - the health of my family, more specifically, my wife.
She is one of the meanings behind my writing. I've realized that my love for writing is bound together in my love for Liz. It is one of the reasons why I do it, and why I can't let this become a roadblock for tomorrow.
It is easy for me to obsess over the dark thoughts that something like this conjures. My mind can become like a black hole that sucks me in away from my wife and family. While the pull is the strongest during these times, it is also during these times that I must resist.
I don't know what the road ahead looks like, or where it will take me or my family. She faces months of healing, perhaps years. Will these feelings resurface? Sure! But I know that I must not give up walking this path, no matter how bleak the hills and dark the road becomes. With the answers to prayers, God has given me enough light to see the step before me, and it is in that light where I will work and dwell.
Thank you for the prayers! I will keep you updated on my wife and my writing, which, by the way, is coming along well enough. I am editing yet another book called The Cry of Kilhaven (this is a completely different series.)
Perhaps that will be my next blog post!
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.