(Originally posted on my CaringBridge page on 2/27/13)
The space within becomes the reality of the building.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
Though perhaps not as magnificent as other larger cityscapes, Boston’s skyline at night is magnetic. Whether approached from the north or the south, I always find myself drawn to it. I remember when Logan was really little, he was in awe by this vertical city stretched out before him, and he began a series of questions: “How does somebody make those buildings so tall?” . . . “How do they not fall down?” . . . “How long does it take to build one?” . . . Always earnest in his questions, Logan refuses to settle for the vague-vanilla parental answers we often provide. So each time I tried to give him a somewhat “knowledgeable” answer about tall buildings, architecture and construction, the reality of my lack of knowledge became evident to us both. Finally I waved my white flag of defeat and explained to him that I didn’t know a lot about these towers in the sky, and maybe it was a good subject for us to learn more about.
We discovered that to build a skyscraper, careful planning is required. It can take years to build. A foundation must be dug a few stories deep below the earth, after which cranes are used to raise a steel frame up into the sky to form the superstructure with steel and concrete beams. Both the foundation and the superstructure are needed to support the weight of the building—so the complete structure of the skyscraper must be finished before the most important insidecan be started. It’s amazing to think that modern skyscrapers are also designed to hold off strong winds—safely able to swing a bit in each direction without damaging the structure.
Today marked exactly two months since diagnosis. As far and wide as the road seems to loom dauntingly ahead on this highway to healing, it’s both encouraging and mind-boggling to think that in a mere 62 days since I heard the words Invasive Ductal Carcinoma—the day my world spun off its axis, I’m already on day 49 of chemotherapy, eight weeks into treatment. It still seems blurry to me . . . an unreal reality wrapped up nicely with a big ‘surreal’ bow.
Yesterday, sitting in a small, narrow exam room watching a DVD on breast reconstruction, my mind wandered instead to architectural design. This was my first plastics consult, and as I sat there in my Johnny after the video ended, waiting for the plastic surgeon to come in—I suddenly felt completely claustrophobic in the space. I started sweating and had to really talk myself out of the intense urge to bolt from the room, Johnny gown and all. I’ll admit I’ve definitely had a few Valium moments since diagnosis, but the sick feeling of sheer panic that confronted me in that room came out of nowhere—an anxiety I haven’t felt before. I closed my eyes and finally managed to pull it together before the surgeon came in to meet me.
The lengthy appointment was filled with the challenges, possibilities, impossibilities, risks and “rewards” associated with the future rebuild of the imminent teardown that will follow chemotherapy.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. ~ Hebrews 11:8-10
Though I’m overwhelmed by the path laid out before me, I know in my heart of hearts that I need to surrender to God, so that He, the trusted architect of my life might use this “structural” teardown moment to help refill and build up the space within my tower—the most important part, the reality of the building. Though the structural process takes time and effort, the final inside portion of the architectural plan is the integral part of the finished product.
Please pray that as I sway in the wind, I will remain confident and secure in the plans and purposes my architect and builder has carefully crafted for my life.