These past months have been a bit of a roller-coaster for the family with our son Ben finishing his combination radiation and first round of chemo and moving back home. He has a cancerous brain tumor (found in fall of 2010) and has had two cranial resections to date. He will continue with further stronger chemo treatments until next Christmas. We know he has begun to feel the effects of the treatments and our hearts long to just hold on to him and do things for him, but that will not be his answer. He needs to live, in the fullness of wellness and assurance that he can beat this cancer with the aid of his treatments and a regimen of exercise and good diet. He tires easily and has over the past months admitted that he finally understands my own plight of ill health.
So how have we fared through all of this? Overall we are doing fine. There may be our weak moments but those are to be expected. There is so much to be thankful for. It is through our deep faith that we know that through it all we are never alone. We have a God who hears our prayers, friends who love and care for all of us and share in our struggles, as they communicate and pray with and for us. For that reason, I continue to keep an eye on my friends and pray for them daily. I made it a practice some years back to write to those who struggle, even in some cases when I didn’t know them personally and tell them that people who cared were praying. If you take those messages in, you soon see and hear of those whose lives have been turned on edge by illness… and it seems the numbers are increasing as we age.
It is so often difficult to remember that you are of concern to others. It may seem that you are in the middle of a huge puddle and are merely one toad that comes to drink. You know the feelings we get some days… “Is there really anyone who cares?… everyone is busy with their own lives!” The doldrums of life can cause our hearts to question and fog the reality of the true depth of friendship and love. Hearts may turn away from what they do not understand, but in the depth of true friendship there remains a caring heart and an open mind. People stop to listen but do they really hear or care? Well, some do and those that are in the “do” category are our lifeline lots of the time.
Perhaps life has been dealing some hard blows of late, or there may be that tinge of question about the pathway being a bit lumpy these days and aging or family life has not been quite what was advertised. If it is of any consequence, there is always someone who cares not only about you, but also for you. I may not know all of you personally, (I pray that I do know most of you) but I do care in the greater sense of the word. When and where I can, I want to affect your life for the positive. I want to pray when I know of your needs and most of all remind you that though life has its up and downs, its twists and turns and on many occasions it fill of saddening disappointments, you can survive and find strength beyond yourselves, as you lean on your faith in God. Of course that means you must believe. Eugene Peterson once told me at a conference one day, as we chatted following his lecture, that belief is a choice… one of so many we make so freely each day. There is no mystery… we just choose to believe and God does the rest.
So today if you are struggling (or maybe not), take a few minutes to reflect on the blessings that have been yours this past week, month, year or through life as a whole. No life is perfect, I know mine is not and never has been, but I have been truly blessed in my life. God has forgiven my shortcomings, adds new life each day and helps when I am no longer able to help myself. He carries me as the “Footprints” prose states. God is carrying you today. You may be too close to the edge and feeling shaken or disturbed, but look into the face of God who loves without question and just let go of the pain. It takes effort, but it is worth the work. After all living on the edge may not always be what you want or expect, but there is a different perspective, based on faith, from there.
May you be blessed this day and in the coming days… decide on a few positive choices even though you may have to walk near the edge. I am praying for YOU!