I wasn't planning to post anything this week, at least not until after Thursday. I am under a deadline of the strictest sort, a book club deadline. We meet Thursday evening to discuss When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe, & the reading has been slow going. It's historical fiction set during . . . you guessed it, WWII. However, it's a whole new WWII experience for me as this novel focuses on the conflict in the Philippines, specifically the struggles of the Filipino people during the years Douglas MacArthur was absent. The novel's title is taken from this quote found in the opening pages:
Papa explains the war like this: "When the elephants dance, the chickens must be careful." The great beasts, as they circle one another, shaking the trees and trumpeting loudly, are the Amerikanos and the Japanese as they fight. And our Philippine islands? We are the chickens.
How much do you love that? Five stars to Ms. Holthe for her novel's title.
So, I should be reading right now, instead of explaining to you that I should be reading.
There is, however, something in my head that needs to be purged. Last time we traveled to Jackson to visit Reagan's endocrinologist we had Henry's blood drawn. There is a great children's hospital in Jackson & they received some money to fund diabetes research. Specifically, they're interested in the presence of autoimmune antibodies in the blood of those under the age of forty-five who have a first degree relative with type 1 diabetes. As you may've guessed, Henry, being under forty-five years of age & the brother of a type 1 diabetic, fits this profile. So, they drew his blood & told us it would take about six weeks to process everything. All of this happened about six weeks ago.
A positive result is not what we want; this would mean autoimmune antibodies are present. If you didn't know, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease because the body's own immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin, erroneously assuming (for whatever reason no one knows) that they are foreign invaders that must be destroyed. Regardless of the test results, nothing is conclusive. What I mean is if Henry tests positive for the autoimmune antibodies, his chances of developing diabetes now are higher, but the presence of antibodies alone does not mean with certainty that diabetes is imminent. If he tests negative, obviously that would be wonderful, but a negative test doesn't mean he will never develop diabetes.
There's so much they don't understand about type 1 diabetes. Genetics is involved, however, most newly diagnosed type 1s have no genetic history of diabetes. A genetic predisposition toward diabetes is not enough to trigger the disease. There are likely many folks walking around with a genetic predisposition to diabetes, but they will never develop the disease. Something in the environment acts as a trigger . . . but no one knows exactly what. It's possible there are multiple triggers, & what triggers it for one diabetic would not trigger it for another. At present, they cannot prevent it in those with known predispositions, & they cannot cure it.
As Reagan's brother, Henry's chances of developing type 1 diabetes are only slightly higher than those of any random one-year-old. I don't like numbers much at all, & I quickly grow weary thinking about all these numbers. The odds of this, the odds of that . . . it'll drive you mad. There is a chance Henry will develop diabetes. There is a chance you will develop diabetes. There is a chance I will develop diabetes. There is a chance my dog will develop diabetes. There is a chance Henry will live to be ninety & never develop diabetes. There is a chance this week will pass without an NFL scandal erupting. There is a chance overrated Notre Dame will win a national football title this year (okay, okay, I kid). Chance, chance, chance. Before she was diagnosed in January, I worried about Reagan. I worried about a thousand different things that didn't, & likely never will, happen. You know what I never once worried about? Diabetes.
I pray Henry tests negative for these antibodies, & I ask you to say the same prayer. A negative test result would be wonderful, however, it would in no way erase my worry over his future health. I think that might be the hardest challenge of any mother, to put her worry where her faith is & truly trust the God she claims to love, the God who says, "Do not worry . . . look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"
Read Matthew 6:25-34. The phrase "Do not worry" is repeated three times. Do not worry. Do not worry. Do not worry. It's a commandment. Those who worry are admonished as you of little faith. I don't want to be seen as a woman of little faith, a mother of little faith. I don't want my kids to grow up watching a mother who frets constantly, & I certainly don't want that image juxtaposed with my claims to love & trust the Almighty. I want to be brimming with faith. I want it to be so evident that I trust the Lord that others, particularly my children, are inspired to do the same.
This week's theme song is Living by Faith.
I care not today what the morrow may bring,
if shadow or sunshine or rain,
The Lord I know ruleth o'er everything,
and all of my worries are vain.
Though tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise,
Obscuring the brightness of life,
I'm never alarmed at the overcast skies,
The Master looks on at the strife.
I know that He safely will carry me through,
No matter what evils betide;
Why should I then care though the tempest may blow,
If Jesus walks close to my side.
Our Lord will return to this earth one sweet day,
Our troubles will then all be o'er;
the Master so gently will lead us away,
beyond that blessed Heavenly shore.
Living by faith in Jesus above,
Trusting, confiding, in His great love;
From all harm safe in His sheltering arm,
I'm living by faith and feel no alarm.
In semi-related news, recently the china cabinet of my dreams was delivered to our home. It sits in our dining area & I walk by it approximately two-hundred times a day. It's of medium height, but in a home with twelve foot ceilings, I've decided it needs something hung above it, & this is what I am 98.5% sure I am going to purchase to fill this decor void in our home:
It's a set of prints from World Market. I love the distressed, vintage-y frames, & I love the birds. Once they're on the wall, when I pass by the china cabinet, instead of thinking, "What am I going to do with that space?," I'll hear three little carefree birds whispering, Do not worry, Anna . . . look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? So if, in a week or so, Trey is standing on a ladder, hammer & nails in hand, whining about my perpetual decorating endeavors, I will tell him to hush because it's a spiritual matter.
Thank you in advance for your prayers. Antibodies or no, book club deadline met or not, like MacArthur, I shall return.