from Rachel: Unchangeable Labels

Write your fact labels here:

“wife, mom, daughter, only child, dog walker, short, bi-ocular, near-sighted, brunette, brain tumor-survivor, caucasian, college graduate.”

Describe a time when you experienced a disconnect because of labels.

“Lately, several people have been asking/expressing concern about my surgery two years ago. While I still enjoy singing praises to God and about the doctors, I begin to feel these people see me as then, rather than now or something.”

We sometimes assign a fate to our label that is worse than the fact itself.

  • Fact: “brain surgery survivor”
  • Fate: “scarred, vision impaired, weaker body/mind”

Do you feel your fate label is communicating to others as you interact with them?

“No,” (for the most part, but) “yes only for certain people.”

Explain why and how or why not.

“I don’t bring it up that often, so most have at least mostly forgotten. It’s just a few who just don’t let go of it – probably because they don’t see me that often.”

Look up Ruth 1:20-21. How did Naomi label herself?

“Mara – bitter”

Was Naomi’s self-imposed label fact, fate or faith?

“Fate based on fact: her husband and two grown sons had died – she was alone.”

What was Naomi’s truthful faith label?

“Blessed by a daughter-in-law who gave birth to a kinsman-redeemer.”

Name Naomi’s and Ruth’s grandchildren (Ruth 4:22)

“Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.”

Who was referred to as the “root of Jesse” (Isaiah 11:10, Romans 15:12) and “Son of David” (Matthew 1:1, 21:9, 22:42)?

“Jesus”

Personalize [Hebrews 11:1] for your fact label. What are the things “not seen” or “hoped for”?

“God has blessed me with restored health. A little diminished vision is better than full loss, a little numbness and tingling is better than potential headaches and seizures.”

Do you talk to your soul [like Naomi]? “No”

Which response best fits how your self-talk about your fact label affects your faith? “It bolsters it.”

Explain why you chose that response.

“I would like to think I loved God and valued and appreciated life sufficiently for my first 40 years, but there’s nothing like a major health crisis and potentially life-threatening surgery to really put everything in perspective and reaffirm those feelings.”

Fill in your faith label [to add to the fact and fate labels from before].

  • Fact: “brain surgery survivor”
  • Fate: “scarred, vision impaired, weaker body/mind”
  • Faith: “healed, restored, blessed, protected, loved”

What is the nature of your “seen” fact (2 Corinthians 4:18)?

“It is temporary, not eternal.”

Dearest Rachel –

I know I skipped your message last week; I didn’t manage to prepare this while I was away at the convention. I know it’s not going to phase you, but I still feel the need to apologize, for some reason.

It’s weird to see the effects of things that were happening to you at the time, and how they affected your answers to this study. You were still feeling the effects of your brain tumor surgery from August 2010 – at least in the attitudes that certain people had toward you. From what I can tell by rereading this, you seemed to be less than appreciative of people who might treat you as if you were made of spun glass.

And that’s more than fair, since by this point, you had recovered from it to the point where, if someone hadn’t known about it before hand, they would never have guessed what you had gone through – which is the way you preferred to be treated. You always preferred to get your hands dirty, and get in the thick of things, even if it might be slightly dangerous – such as when you dropped through the roof of the barn on the day I proposed to you. You might have preferred that not to of happened, but if it were to happen, best that it would happen to you, because it didn’t scare you. For all your femininity, you could be tough sometimes.

And it was that God-given toughness that got you through such things as your surgery, to the pointer by the end, most of us (including myself) had forgotten (apart from the days when I had to take you for your annual check-up to ensure the tumor hadn’t grown back. Which, after the gamma knife surgery, it never did. God was good to us for that extra decade.

Indeed, there are times when I guess I need these reminders. For all that I feel that I was shorted by losing you so soon, the fact remains that it could’ve been that much sooner, or that you would have had to deal with going blind through those intervening years. So we may well have gotten more out of life than we rightfully should have expected. And like Naomi, I have no right to be bitter about my loss.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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