Our fears of the symptoms we were seeing from Abigail were confirmed a week ago today. She has an optic glioma on her left optic nerve (a tumor common in NF). It is causing neurological symptoms and has caused her vision to become worse.
The words to describe how I feel aren't there. It seems like it can't actually be real. But, I wake up, and there she is with her glasses. And, questions. Looking to me for security in something that she isn't sure about.
As we try to process all of it, Jason asked the perfect question, 'what is your biggest fear with it?' I thought for a few minutes. And, the thought has continued to go through my mind since then.
My fear is that this steals her innocence. She no longer worries only about the things seven year olds worry about. She also worries about losing all of her vision in one eye. And, chemotherapy. She wants to know if she'll always have to wear glasses, now. Can the tumor just go away on it's own? What will her friends think if she tells them? Will it hurt? Will they do surgery?
And, as I answer those questions, I find myself completely unable to say the words 'we could pray' because my bigger fear is that it will rob her of her childlike faith. What if I say, 'we could pray that the tumor goes away on it's own' and it doesn't. What does she internalize about God? How do I tell her that, from my experience, prayer doesn't seem to change much externally?
I realize as I think these things, that they're really me, projecting those things that have shaken my own faith, onto my daughter. If she asks those big questions, I don't have any answers right now. I just have bigger questions. Ones that scare me. Ones that I've been wrestling with for quite some time. Ones, that I fear, I will wrestle with always, this side of heaven.
I want words, to wrap up neatly, all the hard things in this world, for my children. I want to be able to give them concrete reasons that bad things happen. I want to point to where God is in all of them. I have none of those things. They don't exist. And, when you're on the outside, looking on other people experiencing hard things, it's easy to say, 'well, sometimes hard things happen, and we just don't know why.' But, when you're staring into the big brown eyes of you daughter, and telling her she has a brain tumor, that doesn't cut it. Nothing does. But, you promise to go into battle with her. To answer questions. To hold her when she's scared. And, you say the things you know are true, even when they don't feel even a little bit true. And, you pray that somehow, her little heart is protected for just a little while longer.