T.S. Eliot started his most famous poem, "The Waste Land," with an equally famous phrase, "April is the cruellest month ... ." No truer words than his today.
I found out yesterday that a young woman I've known professionally (and, thanks to the blogosphere, I feel like I "know" her well), Emilie Lemmons, has an aggressive kind of cancer, and the prognosis isn't good. She has two little boys -- a newborn and a wee toddler. My heart is breaking for her. I've posted a link to her blog over on the left-hand side of this page if you want to read her eloquent posts.
Over the past several months I've become a fan of her writing. I started reading her blog because I loved her columns in The Catholic Spirit, our archdiocesan newspaper. She has a way of turning a phrase, matched only by an effervescent spirit, an energetic intellect and a joie de vivre. Whenever I read her column or her blog, I usually came away smiling. Until yesterday, when tears came instead.
Here is a faith- and love-filled woman in the prime of her life, bravely facing a dragon. She is strong beyond compare, but this is so, so ... wrong. How can I not blame someone, something, God, whatever, for something like this? I just can't get my head around it. So I fall back on my old crutch, prayer, and keep up a mantra day and night. Surely, in my immature faith, if I storm heaven (like a kid imploring, "Mama, Mama, Mama" over and over until she answers, "WHAT??! What IS it, child?"), then God will give me just what I want. Sound familiar? I know, I know: God doesn't always give us what we want, but he's said to give us what we need. And he answers all of our prayers. I can't not believe that, even though the cynic in me always points out that both are pretty unbelievable options. So what, what can be done here? Pray? What will prayer do? Well, my hope is that it's the best thing, the only thing, to do.
Join me in a prayer for Emilie, won't you?