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Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Month's before my son was diagnosed with cancer I wrote this. Somehow it rings of a deeper truth to me;  a place in the mind that transcends ... portends ... delivers.

  Pacing under the garish fluorescent light his heart pounded in his temples and his lips trembled. His adolescent son was dying. Just days before he had been pacing the sidelines while the boy sprinted up the soccer field for a shot on goal.
  Tyler’s kidneys were failing. The only way the doctors could stop the insidious attacker was an immediate transplant. Ben was devastated but couldn’t donate. A few years prior he had been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition.
   His wife was not a match. The fraternal twin brother Cameron was a perfect match but had a heart condition that was inherited from Ben’s side of the family. The odds were not favorable for surgery on Cameron. There was no time. He felt responsible for it all.
   The two boys were like a photo and its negative. Cameron was like his father, Tyler a carbon copy of the mother. He loved them both … his tall gray-eyed blond and the sinewy brown-eyed athlete with tangled dark hair.
  How could God ask him to make this decision? He was afraid. He wanted to puke. As he paced further he cast a furtive glance through an open door and saw the stained glass and pews of a small hospital chapel and entered in.
  He walked to the front of the dimly lit room. Here the antiseptic institutional smell became a thicker, sweeter aroma. He moved quietly to the cross at the front of the empty room and dropped to his knees. Clasping his sweaty palms he bowed his head and began to plead for the life of his sons.
  Memories of the boys flooded his mind’s eye until he remembered. Once, he had heard a woman share about the death of her infant daughter. She had told the story of standing on a balcony begging for her child’s life … some miracle to change the reality as it was. She had shared that suddenly in her anguish she was suffused with a light that told her to let go. “Let go of your pain. Surrender your will to God.”
    The frail, lovely saint shared that it was in that moment she had become free from the burden of her agony. She’d been able to surrender the life of her child to the heavenly Father. She understood, as her Bible had taught her, that she was only a steward. God had always been the Father and He would take her daughter into his loving arms.
  There was no peace in this for Ben but he no longer felt so alone. His gut churned and the horror of powerlessness threatened to consume him.  Suddenly he sensed the presence of someone near. He looked up and Cameron stood there crying.
  “We know what you’re doing Dad and we need for you to stop,” the boy croaked..  “Never, for a moment, has either of us questioned how much you love us. Not for one second have we ever thought you loved one any more than the other,”
  Cameron knelt down beside Ben, took his hands and with quavering voice explained, “There’s no choice to be made. Were Tyler to die and I hadn’t done everything in my power to save him … I don’t think I could go on. One thing I’m certain of is that I’d never forgive myself. It would be worse than death to let my brother die knowing I could have helped him and didn’t.”
   To this day, Ben says he’s not exactly sure what happened next. He tells me his only memory is of his gray-eyed child kneeling before him, as through the blur of his tears, Cameron became a man much too soon.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Back Home

  It’s been a while now since my son was diagnosed with bone cancer. Eight months to be exact. Eight months of chemo and wasting away while we tend to him and try our best to be good parents to both him and our other boy.
  I’ve been trying to keep my head on straight with some eastern practices of qigong and meditation combined with some martial arts. There’s been flute and drum music to go along with it and it’s all been helping.
  I ceased to write and post for a while. You see I got tired of crying. Tired of writing my pain and wanting this to go away. God as I have always known Him just can’t help us much here you see. I have a saying, “ He built the race track but He’s not driving the cars.”
  Folks tell us “You’re in our thoughts and prayers.” I know they mean it. When a child suffers, we all suffer but each day we wake and he hobbles to the car or couch to find his way through the haze of medicine and fatigue that has been his world too long.
  It’s slow at work today so as I was looking for some information online when I saw a video of Carrie Underwood singing an old song called “I Told You So.” When she was done they asked her to be the newest member to the Grand Old Opry. After a gracious joking moment she cried. You could see her life’s fruition on her face like a child who’s run the race and won. My heart went out to her as the memories flooded in.
  Then I realized. I had grown weary of sadness so left my roots to be somewhere that did not pull so hard on my heartstrings. I had in fact run away. My Dad used to listen to the Grand Old Opry … and so did I.
  My Momma’s with the boy today at home. It won’t be long until I get to go there and see him. I’m going to hug his neck instead of petting his baldhead. Then I’m going to tell him how proud I am to be his father.
  You see there comes a time when a man’s got to go to sea and stand on a blustery deck headed for foreign ports leaving his heart behind.
  When he’s done he’s got to go home again whether it hurts or not because he’s needed.  One way or another this thing’s going to pass and when it does I’ll sing an old country song while riding down a back country road.
  I can cry then because I’ll know in my heart that we all found our way back home.


What blindness comes with waking
That we only know ourselves walking
In this world?

What veil of sorrow hides the beauty?

Were we to pull back the mask of consciousness,
Would day and night blend into eternity?

Are we only a faithful step away from reality
As we cast about in our hopeful waiting?

Do we reach into the ether like a grasping hand,
Where no one is looking?

There they have ceased consciousness.
Are we the dream while awakening awaits our sleeping?