Monday, July 22, 2013

A Christmas Memory for July

A Very Special Christmas

     Fourteen years ago, my family and I had the unique privilege of spending Christmas inside the Children’s Hospital of Minnesota. I had been diagnosed with a critical cancer called B-Cell Lymphoma and was given only three months to three years to live. Christmas during this time was special to me because it was the first time I remember having my eldest brother (then ten years old) tell me “I love you”.

     The hospital let my family stay at the Ronald McDonald Children’s House. The “RMCD House”, as it was called, provides a place for families to stay who have a loved one going through extensive treatment. On Christmas day, the RMCD House left a huge red sack full of Christmas presents for my brothers. Not only was that sack there but another sack was left for my family anonymously. Inside we found a play station and a CD player. The gifts were awesome reminders that people were thinking about our family on Christmas. What meant more to me that season, however, was hearing my brother Evan tell me he loved me.

     Many dear people came to see me and many people I did not know wrote letters and prayed for me. Whenever I think about my time with cancer, I am overwhelmed how good God really is, The kindness, hope, strength, and love I saw in people showed me Jesus was with me and He was holding my hand. The wonder of Christ’s birthday is how much Jesus loves me and the wonder of my twelfth Christmas was hearing and knowing my brother’s love for me.
Cancer Equals Love
I was lying in a hospital bed
dying from a lump with the name B Cell Lymphoma
when my mother, father and brother
came into the room to hold my hand.
The silence in the room was killing
us all softly when my dad and mom
whispered, "I love you".
I looked at my brother who couldn't seem
to speak.
The cancer had reached inside him and began
to hurt him too.
My dad nudged my brother to tell your sister
I love you
and I heard him. I heard him say
"I love you".

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Anchor Holds

     Trust. Noun: Which means it is a person, place, thing or idea. Trust is an idea I practiced early in life or rather is a thing I believed I had and could place it on someone or something else. Examples: I knew mom and dad took care of me and loved me. I knew I had a brother whose name was Evan who I could argue and play with. How it feels to me: To be able to have this knowledge of people caring for me and loving me felt light as air. Like I could fall from the tallest precipice or highest plane and still feel surrounded by strong arms and a safety net.

            Origins: I was sitting in junior church with twenty or so other children. The teacher was Mrs. Mary Owen and she sat next to a flannel graph board in front of the class. What is a flannel graph board? It is a board covered with felt that sits on a wooden stand. A teacher provides cut outs of people, animals, trees, buildings or anything to tell the story they want to tell. These cut outs have felt pieces on the back that stick to the flannel graph so the children can see the story being told.

            The story she was telling was about heaven and its streets of gold and gorgeous mansions. She told us we could live there someday after we die. What was my five year old mind thinking? I wanted to go there after I died! I didn’t know much about death but I did know I was afraid when people talked about it and if I could be sure heaven awaited me I wouldn’t be scared anymore.

            Trust. Definition: To be confident of something present or future; consolation; to comfort, that is, to strengthen; care and management. I raised my hand and Mrs. Owen talked to me about Jesus and how He was who I should place my confidence in to take me to heaven when I died. I could depend on Him to forgive me of my sin and rely on His forgiveness to let me into heaven’s gates when I died.

            I prayed. I prayed to Jesus so I could go to His heaven on the day I died. How it feels to me: Like fireworks were bursting inside my chest. I felt like I was full of life. I remember singing when my family returned home from church.

            Doubt. Verb. Which means it simply exists or it does an action to a person, place, thing or idea. Doubt began working on my trust. Examples: I was worried mom wouldn’t always be home. She might leave me someday. I was worried I would not go to heaven when I died. How it feels to me: Doubting feels like someone injected poison into your bloodstream and your whole body becomes frozen in place. I felt exposed and open to anything that hurt.

            Origins: I remember falling asleep thinking how badly I fought with my brother that day or how much I didn’t listen to what my mother was saying and how terrible I was. For sure, if I died I would be in hell or I would wake up and mom would be gone.

            Doubt. Definition: To question, or hold questionable; to hesitate to believe; to fear; to suspect; to distrust; to withhold confidence from. I allowed injection after injection to fill me so full of fear each time I disliked my behavior. I took back my trust in my family and Jesus so many times. I would cry and hyperventilate like I really was falling from mountain precipices and higher plans with no parachutes or nets.

            I was sixteen years old when I asked my English teacher about doubt. He told me to look up versus in the Bible that talked about what I prayed as a five year old when I put my trust in Jesus. If I was confident in giving to Jesus my trust then I had no fear of hell after death. If this was true, I had no fear in losing my family because I would have confidence in Christ. How it feels to me: Like a bird soaring the wide sky. Like a cancer patient pronounced cancer free. I needed to trust, not doubt. Why would I want to fly back into a cage or why would I want to be back in the hospital hooked to tubes for blood transfusions? I placed my trust in Jesus, no turning back.

            Look into: Romans 3:10; 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9-13