I am so humbled by the stories of people who are fighting cancer, enduring the loss of a loved one, or the people in Oklahoma who have suffered the devastating effects of the tornadoes. Mark is helping in the clean-up effort and I cry while reading the words written by my youngest son, "don't worry about me, I'm fine, but please pray for all the good people who are hurting here." He says that every morning he gets up, puts on his safety glasses , mask, and gloves and heads out to work in the neighborhoods destroyed by the storms. He says the city looks terrible and so many houses are completely gone. He says that all you can see for miles is giant piles of garbage, bricks, and the remains of people's lives. All the churches have come together to answer the call of duty and love. Fema, Red Cross, Medical Reserves, and all the different church denominations are working side by side. The Baptists have the best food, he claims!!
One of my dear friend's daughter-in-law has breast cancer. She is young and beautiful, and has always eaten the right kinds of food, and has exercised daily. She has four young children, and now must undergo a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. It is devastating for their family, but they are trying to have the faith and courage they need to combat this trial in their lives.
My nephew, Nathan, father of eight and husband to the wonderful Christina....has cancer. I have been reading his blog lately, and am amazed by the faith he has and the desire to endure this lymphoma. He is having chemo and will undergo a bone marrow transplant with the donor being his youngest brother, Jarom, who is 16 years old. My brother has 11 children, with Nathan being the oldest and Jarom being the baby. Nathan was such a good boy when he was little, and was always such an example for his many siblings. Now he is the awesome father of a beautiful family of his own. I read his words about faith, "I believe in many ways God gives us enough light to see our next step into the darkness, but not much more than that." He says that the feelings he has is something that Heavenly Father has given him, and although we must have doubt to have faith, this is something outside of that, and he believes that he will be okay in the end no matter the outcome. I sometimes think it would be great to know everything about the next five years, so that we can prepare ourselves for the unpleasant things, and relax and enjoy the pleasant ones. Seriously, not...
Adam ran 26 miles in the Ogden Marathon. Well, maybe running is stretching it a bit. It was his first race ( seriously, why did he not do the half-marathon??) Being a non runner (I have a car, thanks) I was truly amazed at the people the who ran and completed the race. It was cold, rainy, and it didn't look that much fun to me. Yet, I was buoyed up in the excitement of it all, and waited for my son to finish the race. I had doubts he would do so, as the time crept past five hours. It was so joyous to see the runners come in and greet their family members. There was sheer happiness, and triumphant hugs all around. It was exciting to wait for each runner, and to look into their faces and witness their ability to "finish the race". There were young and old, and some looked a little prepared than others, but in they came and crossed that race. We, who stood waiting, were happy for them all. I loved looking into the expectant face of the people who stood waiting for the people they knew. There were wheelchairs waiting for those who looked as if they could not make that last stretch, and a first aid station waited nearby.
We worried as the time passed. I wondered if perhaps Adam was not weeping in a bush in the canyon, but .....finally, in he came. He was not running, but rather loping clumsily and dragging his leg behind him. He was exhausted, but his eyes still bore the determination of one who had defied the odds, and the pain. He looked victorious even as we hugged, and he muttered, "I feel like crap". His feet were bleeding, and he painfully made his way to the first aid station. This mother felt her eyes mist over, as she witnessed the end of his race. He finished, and in the end, that was what mattered most.
We must gird up our loins, dispel the doubt, and move forward and finish the race. The only recourse we have, because not to do so would be unbearable. I am so thankful that I believe in a higher power , an omnipotent God who knows us, who knows our trials, and who weeps when we weep. We are like the poet John Keats wrote, "straining at particles of light in the midst of a great darkness". Heavenly Father knew us before the earth was formed, and He knows us now. He is waiting for us to finish the race and someday, we will all be home again.