Monday, October 5, 2009


Back in the spring of 1989, when we were newlyweds (married two years!), Brad and I planned a trip out west. We have family in Colorado, Oregon, and California, so we decided to make a big circle, stopping to see the Grand Tetons, the redwood forest, the Oregon coast, and the Grand Canyon. We also planned to visit all of our relatives along the way (free food and lodging!), and take in a San Francisco Giants baseball game. We bought tickets for the August 10th game against the Cincinnati Reds. We had a wonderful trip, camping in a tent in the Grand Tetons (we nearly froze to death!), marveling at the enormous trees, enjoying the gorgeous coastline, and being awestruck by the beauty of the Grand Canyon. We also had great visits with our family. But the highlight of the trip ended up being that baseball game.

A few days before the ballgame, it was announced that Dave Dravecky would be making his major league comeback on August 10th. Dave Dravecky was a very successful pitcher who had been sidelined by cancer in his pitching arm. He underwent surgery, a series of cancer treatments, and extensive rehab before making this very well-publicized comeback. We had seats right above the bull pen where we were able to watch all of the activity, and were amazed at the amount of press coverage that this game was generating. As a matter of fact, we were interviewed by a San Francisco TV reporter who was amazed that we had come all the way from Arkansas for this ball game...little did he know that we had bought our tickets six months before! Of course, as a huge baseball fan, Brad was loving every minute of this. The crowd went crazy as Pete Rose got thrown out of the game, and even crazier as Dave got the win. The really cool thing was that Dave Dravecky was an outspoken Christian, and he used this opportunity to very openly share his faith and give glory to God. We listened to all the post-game interviews on the radio as we sat in the parking lot stuck in traffic for what seemed like hours, and his testimony was just amazing. We headed home from our vacation a couple of days later, still talking about Dave Dravecky's story.

The next time Dave Dravecky pitched, his arm broke with a resounding crack that was heard all over the stadium. His cancer had returned, and his arm could not be saved. His arm and shoulder were eventually amputated. Years later, he wrote a couple of books about his experiences called, "Comeback" and "When You Can't Come Back." His wife, Jan, struggled with depression for years, and has also written some excellent books. Together, they have founded a ministry called "Outreach of Hope" ( which is a designed to be a source of encouragement for those going through the cancer journey. It's a wonderful ministry, and they put out some great free literature as well.

Back when we were watching Dave Dravecky pitch and listening to his story of overcoming cancer, we didn't even have children, and we certainly never dreamed we would face the kind of situation we faced with Hannah. But his story, and his determination to give God the glory in his circumstances, made a huge impression on us...and I truly believe that our presence at the ballgame back on August 10, 1989, was divinely orchestrated. Isn't it amazing how God works in our lives, even when we're completely unaware?

Well, that was a much longer introduction than I meant to give...I was really just going to post a poem that I found in one of the Outreach of Hope publications. I found it last night as I was reading through some of their materials, and I thought some of you might be able to relate to it. I actually think it could apply to a variety of situations, not just a cancer diagnosis. I'll close with it:


When I Was Diagnosed With Cancer:

My first friend came and expressed his shock by saying, "I can't
believe that you have cancer. I always thought
you were so active and healthy."
He left and I felt alienated and somehow very "different".

My second friend came and brought me information about
different treatments being used for cancer. She said
"Whatever you do, don't take chemotherapy. It's a poison!"
She left and I felt scared and confused.

My third friend came and tried to answer my "whys?"
with the statment "Perhaps God is disciplining
you for some sin in your life?"
He left and I felt guilty.

My fourth friend came and told me,
"If your faith is just great enough God will heal you."
She left and I felt my faith must be inadequate.

My fifth friend came and told me to remember that
"All things work together for good."
He left and I felt angry.

My sixth friend never came at all.
I felt sad and alone.

My seventh friend came and held my hand and said,
"I care, I'm here, I want to help you through this."
She left and I felt loved!

Linda Mae Richardson
"Victory in the Valley"

1 comment:

sarah sartor said...

Jill, I read these as soon as you post them, but sometimes I don't know what to say, although I want to comment so you know we read these. Guess I'll just say, thanks for sharing these thoughts and memories with us! I love you!