I just finished reading a book tonight that I started back in March. For whatever reason (I just figured it out), I have not had the moments to read the last few remaining chapters. Something always came up, was more important or I just wanted to sleep. But, as my Type A personality always struggles, it was an unfinished book sitting next to my bed and I had to look at it every night as I turned out my lamp. So, I decided tonight was it. I was going to finish.
It is a sweet story by Karen Kingsbury about a lady who runs an Independent Life Center for young adults with Down Syndrome. I have learned a lot about that life style while reading this and it was actually one of the things that intrigued me to pick it up in the first place.
Of course, as all good novels that I read are, it had a level of the perfect romance story to it. It actually has two and the one that spoke to me most was the one between two of the young adults with DS.
Daisy is scared of the rain. I cant remember if something happened early on in the story that made her scared of storms or if it is a general scare, like so many and me sometimes, of just the noise and the possibility of melting. It rained a lot in this story and each time, Carl Joseph would reassure her that rain wasn’t bad, because there was just sunshine on the other side of the clouds.
What a simple concept. More, than just the light at the end of the tunnel, more than seeing progress, more than seeing an ending. His response each time was in a mode of protection, but so simple. A childlike response to a common problem.
In the last scene of the book (this shouldn’t ruin it for you…its pretty predictable and that’s what makes it good) they are in an airplane and of course it is raining as they get on the plane and as they take off. Daisy is scared and clinging to Carl Joseph. He, in his sweet way, is continuing to remind her that it is ok and that the plane will not melt. But, quickly as they make their way through the layers of fluffy clouds, they are past the grey ones, through the white ones and into the SUNSHINE! He looks at her and says: “See Daisy, I told you…Sunshine, Just beyond the clouds!” What a simple concept and yet so relevant to me today.
I have had an ongoing text conversation with a friend tonight about how I’m handling all this. And, so many of you have been gracious to make comments about the way I’m handling it. While there are plenty of things of this earth that are helping (praise the Lord for advancement in treatment options and chemo therapies), my help through this is not of this world. No, really. My response to the chemo therapy is not usual. I still have my hair and I can still go to work and do most of the things I want to. I mean I eat what I want to (yes, a half a jar of pickles is still included in that). I go to meetings at work, I still get to straighten my wiry hair in the mornings. Outside of a couple days of mere exhaustion, I’m myself.
Friends, that is not normal. My doctor looked me in the face last week and said, “you don’t look sick”. I’m supposed to I guess since I am. I have this amazing sense of humor that allows me to make jokes about my self and I have chemo brain (which just means I say jumbled words and have no control over them….if you know me, you know I talk a lot, and so it is really funny when it happens…Imagine hearing a sentence in English with a Martian word just randomly thrown in) which means I have an excuse for saying stupid things (I may play that card even after this process is over).
I have the Creator of the Universe on my side. I mean really!!!
In the letter to her readers at the end of the book, Kingsbury says this:
“Life has a way of sending in the clouds-not the clowns. That unexpected diagnosis (HELLO!!!), the pile of bills that won’t go away, the empty mailbox, strained relationships…But the truth is always what Carl Joseph tried to tell Daisy: There is always sunshine just beyond the clouds.
Scripture tells us that God has good plans for us, and so He does. But, sometimes it’s a matter of holding onto that truth when the clouds come, when the sky is so dark that it’s hard to believe there could really be sunshine on the other side. But there is, especially for those who believe. “
What a special truth. While I have to run from sun right now (one of my chemo drugs is light sensitive on top of the fact that I’ve got all the others too), I will be more thankful for the sunshine. Much like the rainbow was a sign for Noah from the Lord, I will take the days of summer that are coming as a juxtaposed reminder of the rainy, muggy days like the one we had here today. No, they are not fun and yes I got soaked when the bottom fell out at 5:01 today, but even as I drove home from work with the wipers on high today, the sun began shining. And, by the time I got where I was going (which in Arkadelphia takes max 4 minutes at “rush hour”) it wasn’t raining any more and the sun was shining.
That’s hopefully what this journey will be, pouring hard rain, that the sun shines through and when it is over, shines brighter!
**The title of this entry is a link to Karen Kingsbury’s website…for the last two years, I have not read a book that was not authored by her. She’s got a good thing going! Oh, and the name of the book is Just Beyond the Clouds…it might help to read A Thousand Tomorrows first, but I didnt so, you dont have to.**