Today marks the one year anniversary of Hannah's brain surgery...it's been very surreal to relive these dates in February in this current situation. She's had another rather restless day, but they have now put her on a morphine pump, so she can have a steady flow of pain relief rather than having to wait for the nurse to come with the injection each time. We are hopeful that this will really make a difference for her.
We want to thank everyone for the many, many emails, calls, cards, gifts, meals, etc. We spend a lot of our time reading our email and snail mail (much of it from people we don't even know!) and we are saving every single one...even though we are unable to respond to most of them due to sheer volume. What a blessing you have been to our family!
Tonight, I want to share a posting from a family who lost a child to brain cancer exactly four years ago today....We have become acquainted with this family through Facebook and emails, and have been inspired and encouraged by their story. You can read more about Ben Bowen at www.bens-story.com if you wish. It was a real blessing to read this posting today, especially in light of the storm analogy that the Bowens use. When this post is continued, we will be sure to include it in our email.
2/25/09 8:22 a.m. The perfect storm.
It amazes me that even in this age of technology and great understanding that devastating storms appear with little warning. The details and depth of impact are not realized until we experience it first hand, in real time. It seems the only thing you can predict is that human response will be remarkable. We often see the very best of and very worst of people in the wake of a great storm. In recent history, Hurricane Katrina demonstrated this well. No one will forget the painful images of men and women unnecessarily looting, vandalizing and assaulting one another after that great storm. On the other hand, the powerful videos of “average joes” risking their own lives to save a neighbor, opening homes and businesses to strangers needing shelter, and leaving stable careers to launch rebuilding programs for the thousands of refugees. Either extreme is remarkable in and of itself and leaves a wake of great impact.
Sometimes storms are not made up of rain, wind and lightening – sometimes storms are made up of circumstances that are very personal – and today is a pointed reminder of a storm that my family faced when our son, Ben died of cancer. It has been four years since we laid beside him in our bed, listening to Disney lullaby music , taking in every scent, touch and sound that he made. The ugliness of the cancer in his body was extreme – pain so great that we began to pray for the worst thing a parent could fathom – that God take him away. Those who share in our faith might wonder why that is the “worst thing” – that Heaven is a better place – but something inside me still longs for my son to be here with Jennifer and I. This is a difficult thing to explain – because without hesitation, I know Ben is enjoying things we can only imagine. The conditioned Christian response that he is in a better place doesn’t connect with the daddy in me that hungers to care and provide for my children. I know that someday, when I am there with him, that innate hunger will be satisfied and I will finally “get it”. God promised it.
Personal storms may have a lot of spectators, but few experience it. The things that we saw, lives that were changed and impact of each bumpy step of Ben’s journey was carefully connected and orchestrated by God. I mean it. I know this because of the outcome – the evidences that something much bigger was happening through our journey. At times, Jennifer and I were amazed by the way God was using our hurt to accomplish incredible things. This does not mean we were happy about it. This does not mean we were not heartbroken. It does not always make sense, but you know what I’m talking about. After the great loss on 9/11, incredible stories of heroism and hope emerged that inspired a nation like never before. I was there – a part of the horrific recovery work and saw the reality of that day. It was ugly. The things that happened within the boundaries of “ground zero” would eat away at you the rest of your life if you only knew. As great a loss as it was, somehow it drew in a nation and sparked “goodness” like never seen before.
Throughout history, there are examples of how incredible “storms” have accomplished great things. For those who experience it first hand, you taste something impossible to explain. You pray for strength to survive the heartache and wisdom to connect the dots and serve God well. For those who were spectators, great inspiration is born. You pray that inspiration sparks change and that you will live life differently because of it. [to be continued...]
Believing, Tom, Jennifer and the kids
God is good, all the time!
Brad, Jill & Bethany