Friday, October 17, 2008


I think I may have mentioned this before, but in Kindergarten we used to read a book called Fortunately. In it, Ned, the main character, is trying to get to a party, and all sorts of alternately fortunate and unfortunate things happen to him on his way there. I don't remember all the things very well, or even the ending (though I suspect--and hope) it was happy. But I do remember being intrigued by the concept even as a child and I often still think of it, wondering at life and the way it seems that good things so often get marred by the bad, and yet conversely how some good things couldn't have happened without the bad things happening first.

I've been processing a lot, obviously, and I've brought up a lot of things that have made me feel unhappy. Right now, though, I just want to process some gratitude, and acknowledge that there's a whole lot of good that has happened in and around this situation already. A whole lot of threads feel like they're converging, when they never would have seemed related at first at all.

Here are some of the story threads, with how they're starting to tie together. If it's annoying . . . don't blame me. I would have used a whole lot more words otherwise.

The Guy
Fortunately, Jenn had a job at a coffee shop. Unfortunately, she was getting really sick of it. Fortunately, she met the Milk Guy there. (Actually, she met him long before she started getting sick of the job.) Unfortunately, they didn't really see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, particularly as relates specifically to God. Fortunately, this both challenged and bolstered Jenn's faith so that her relationship with God and her faith in Him grew more than it had in a really long time.

The New Job

Fortunately, Jenn had a job at a coffee shop. Unfortunately, she was getting really sick of it. Fortunately, Val knew about a job at a church in the City. Unfortunately, it was only part-time. Fortunately, Jenn applied for it anyway and got it. Unfortunately, this made her really busy, with two part-time jobs and a free-lance writing gig. Fortunately, keeping the coffee shop job allowed her to keep her medical benefits.

The Family-of-Six
Fortunately, Jenn lives in a decent-sized house. Unfortunately, she doesn't enjoy living alone very much. Fortunately, the Sixes' house sold almost immediately in a nearly-dead housing market. Unfortunately, their visas for their overseas move were a little more complicated to get than they expected. Fortunately, Jenn invited them to stay in her house. Unfortunately, things got a little crowded. Fortunately, they all get along with each other really well.

The Counselor
Fortunately, Jenn has two jobs and a house and some good friends to share with. Unfortunately, all this change was stressing her out. Fortunately, her insurance covers some counseling services. Unfortunately, her previous experiences going to counselors has been less than ideal. Fortunately, the Milk Guy referred her to a counselor. Fortunately the counselor is a Christian (even though the Milk Guy hadn't realised it). Fortunately she's also really good. (Yeah. Not too much unfortunate about that one.)

The Cancer
Fortunately, Jenn every once in a while gets observant. Unfortunately, she noticed something amiss. Fortunately, she went to the doctor's. Unfortunately, nobody really thought it was anything serious. Fortunately, Jenn's mother told her she should ask some more questions. Fortunately, her doctor sent her to a surgical oncologist. Fortunately, the surgical oncologist thought she was okay, too. Unfortunately, she wasn't. Fortunately, he had ordered a biopsy anyway. Unfortunately, it came back positive for cancer. Fortunately, now she knows.

And now for the tie-ins:

The Milk Guy's aunt goes to my new church. (I did not know this when I applied for the job.) She's a really nice person. She has offered to accompany me to appointments if I need her to. (The Milk Guy has stepped up in his own way, too, mostly by entertaining me and helping me not think of cancer for a while.) Also, that church has walked the path of cancer an insane amount of times--which doesn't seem like it would be all that lovely for them, but it certainly helps them know how to help me. I would never have thought of that.

Heather-of-Six has actually been coming to my appointments instead of the Milk Guy's aunt. David-of-Six isn't working right now, so he can watch the kids while she comes with me. Having the Sixes here has been like having family during this time when my biological family are physically far away. I would never have thought of that. (Other people from my old church are helping, too.)

Even though I'm tired of Starbucks itself, it gives me medical benefits, and I can apply for short-term disability and family medical leave so that I can keep them, and still get paid a portion of what I would be making if I were working. Plus there are people there like Ed! and 409-Caitlin and Mouse and MissAlineous and Bentleman who make me laugh and feed me and make pink ribbons. I would probably not have thought of that either.

My new counselor's mother and sister both fought breast cancer and her sister is doing fine. Again, I'm not sure how awesome this was for my counselor, but it does give her an insight into what's going on with me that other people couldn't necessarily have. I definitely never would have thought of that.

I'm not always very socially adept, and I talk about money when you're not supposed to talk about money. I didn't mean to, in that letter--it was just something scaring me at the time and I wanted to not be scared; sometimes it helps to talk about the monsters. Anyway, people are being very generous to me. Thank you.

Also, as an update . . . on Wednesday I had my PET scan to find out what the deal is with my lung. Looks like it was scar tissue. Or gone. Anyway, it isn't more cancer.

Maybe God does do more than we can ask or think . . . so I'm grateful.


Scott R. Davis said...

Jenn. you are very wise in your insight in your battle with cancer. you balance the yin and yang of life and the battles of the flesh and the spirit well. Glad that you have a good support network surrounding you. may your words bless you in the coming weeks and I will have some of my friends who overcame breast cancer pray for you.

Just as the starbucks drinks are poured by ingredient and ingeredient, so life gets poured all in the right balance. May His peace surpass all your understanding as you await the surgery and further tests.

Go Jesus!!!!!

dave grosser said...

This was a really great post, Jenn. Thanks for tying it all together for us!