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Monday, August 29, 2011

When We Go Home


A little over a week ago one of my sons was diagnosed with bone cancer. They say that ten to twelve weeks of intense chemo and “limb salvage” surgery can cure him. They say that though, he won’t be running any marathons, he can lead a reasonably normal life.

I have ridden a roller coaster of emotions these past days. It’s all so surreal. They have pumped untold gallons of fluid (much of it toxic) into him. That was done in the hospital over a three-day period.

He’s back home until the next round. He’s struggling to eat or drink anything. We encourage and minister to him yet in the end only he can fight the battle that is waging inside his youthful body.

I have been frantic, angry, anguished and yes … even peaceful at times. I have never felt closer to God. I have never felt closer to my sons. One of the worst parts is that at times it’s as if he’s not there. All he can do is hang on.

I know that this boy is a warrior. I have always known. He reads tomes of fantasy steeped in heroes and honor, odyssey and courage, truth and dignity. His wall is adorned with replicas of swords from various cultures and places in history. He wants to be a CIA field agent. That was the first thing that troubled him after the prognosis.

He likes to wear hats. The upturned fedora that is popular in younger circles today is his hat of choice. He just got a new one. A young friend from church brought him another to the hospital and I will forever see her when I look at that hat.

He has had a “girlfriend” for a while now in the way of early teens. They have been friends since kindergarten. She is absolutely charming in appearance and character. She has been by his side as much as she could from the beginning of the ordeal. They do not speak to one another much in our presence. They tend to look across the room with furtive glances, much like my wife and I, yet she framed a picture of them and bordered it with child-like drawings. She wrote, “be strong” and “I love you” and my heart is breaking as I think of it.

Her family has been right beside her. They are my family now … no matter what happens, no matter where any of us go I will forever cherish them all.

Folks from the church began immediately to bring food. We were exhaustedly consuming casseroles and deserts at the end of the day before the denial even wore off. Steadily they came through the hospital door. They sat with us as we waited. They held our hands and they prayed with us. They helped us to laugh.They came to my work bringing solace in a gray fog … bringing salve to an open wound. They gave us hope and they gave us a place to lay our fear if only for brief spells of time.

I have cried out in anguish to God but know that this is not His doing. Only the love is His. The rest is the whim of existence … the ebb and flow of life from the miniscule bouncing of cells to the everlasting love in our hearts.

So now it is time. It is time to join the battle that has been waged by humanity over the millenniums as the children suffered. There is no “why”. There is only the strength of our God as we strive to join him both here and now and until eternity washes away the pain of this place of flesh and bone … until eternity embraces what remains after suffering … until Father let’s us go home.

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