When it all builds up to an edge you're about to fall over, then you run into the closet in tears, drop to your knees, and sincerely offer up a prayer that includes the words "I just can't do this part by myself - I need You." There's no miraculous turnaround, no beam of strength slicing through the closet ceiling to descend upon you, there's not even that warm feeling inside - not yet. It comes a little later in the day, when your arms are still held out in despair and your hands are still in a little bit of a claw shape because you're so frustrated, and...into them drops a little pearl. Small, but so precious because of what it meant and when it came. In my case, it was a "Thanks for dinner, Mom. Sure, I'll clean my plate." (This from the kid who five minutes earlier had wailed and wept because I told him we were having meat loaf for dinner.) And a little bit later, another pearl, in the form of the same kid explaining, quite thoroughly, a deep understanding of what his teacher had taught in Primary that afternoon. And another, when we were reading scriptures tonight, and Dad explained a passage we read and the very same kid (who, YES, was the main reason my hands turned into claws earlier) said, "I think I understand what this means. So if we do what God asks...[proceeding to reiterate Dad's explanation in his own words]." And that was all I needed. My burdens weren't taken away, and my children weren't automatically changed into perfect beings, and that kid will probably give me grief about the spaghetti we are having for dinner tomorrow, but I was given just a little bit of what I needed - hope. And sometimes, that's all we need.
Have you ever had one of those days (or nights, weeks, months, etc.) when everything has already been piling up on you for some time, and you really are trying to do better in those areas you have New-Year's-resolved to make an effort in, but you're getting no results or good feelings or blessings or anything? Your husband's in his office trying to catch up on the work he had to miss when he was incapacitated by strep throat for 5 days, so he's got his own stress to deal with, the kids (one especially) are absolutely non-cooperative with your keeping-the-Sabbath-Day-holy offerings, and you really did try to start the day with a good attitude.
About 5 years ago, my brother, the one just a year younger than me (I'll call him yb), suffered a seizure in the middle of a racquetball game and was rushed to the hospital. An MRI scan showed a tumor in his brain with the name you saw in the 8-syllable mouthful that is the title of this post. To make a long story short, surgeons removed the tumor (along with a bunch of tissue from his right frontal lobe) and he's been "okay" ever since. ("Okay" being defined as placed on anti-seizure medications and scheduled for regular MRI's for the rest of his life, but able to return to work, school, driving a car - after 3 months' wait - and life in general after recovery.) He had another seizure about 2 years ago, but other than that, has pretty much been just a regular guy (missing a chunk of his brain - that's yb's brain in the picture after his surgery).
Yb waited until after Christmas to tell all of us that his most recent MRI showed another growth in the right frontal lobe again. His doctors told him this was common with this type of tumor and scheduled him for another surgery. Last Monday, they removed the new growth, along with "quite a bit of tissue" (the surgeon's words). Recovery hasn't been so smooth this time, but yb still manages to find the time to blog about it.
What I find so amazing about this whole deal (aside from the marvels of modern medicine and their associated technology) is his attitude. I talked to him the night before his surgery, and we talked a lot about how he felt about the whole thing. His attitude basically boiled down to this: It's all in God's hands, and I know everything will be okay.
How different would our lives be if we all had this attitude? Toward everything, not just brain tumors? Would people still complain? Would this kind of patience extend to minor frustrations as well, like today, when I've chased the puppy around the house 8 times after she snatched 8 different things she's not supposed to chew? I just marvel at such a perspective. He's a great example.