Night School

Night School

From Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor's Soul

Night School

Cancer got me over unimportant fears, like getting old.

Olivia Newton-John

Without a doubt, the nights were the worst.

During the daytime, family and friends visited and chatted. Others called to talk on the phone. My mother rented movies, and we watched them together. My teenage sons went through the typical trials and tribulations of that phase of life, and its inherent daily drama kept my thoughts occupied. Visits to the oncology clinic or the radiation therapy center at the hospital provided opportunities to visit with other patients and cheerful nurses and technicians. And the daylight somehow made everything okay. It was easier to laugh in the daytime, and it was easier to believe I would get well. I didn’t feel so alone when the sun was up.

But when night fell, everything changed. The nightmares of childhood could not compete with the horrors of those nights when survival seemed only a very slim possibility. With everyone in our household sound asleep and not a sound to be heard anywhere, I would bolt upright in my bed, heart pounding, envisioning things I feared would come to pass. I would start to tremble all over, pull the blankets tighter around me, and lie there shivering and sobbing for what seemed like hours.

Then I heard someone refer to those times as “God’s night classes.” She said that God often awakens us in the middle of the night during difficult times for the simple reason that it is quiet and there is nothing to distract us from communicating with him. With all around us dark and silent, we can talk to him, and we can listen to what he has to tell us.

I began to look at those nightly wake-up calls as God’s night classes. When I began to shake all over and the tears came, I begged him to pull me close, to comfort me and calm my fears. I told him where it hurt and what I was afraid of. And, yes, I prayed for a cure. But mostly I just prayed for courage to get through one more treatment, one more surgery, one more day of living with cancer.

After a few of these “night classes,” the trembling and the tears stopped. If I awoke during the night, I said, “Hello, God. I’m here.”

Invariably he said, “So am I.”

Kathy Cawthon

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