One of the positive things about getting older is the ability to look back over our lives and see areas where we have grown and changed for the better. Often our physical eyesight weakens with age but our spiritual vision can become sharper than ever if we allow it. We understand things differently because we have lived longer and we have more information and experience. Time has a way of softening and healing. Perspective changes. Confidence grows. Living each day becomes more intentional. I like to think that's what is happening with me.
Every now and then something really major happens that drives home the point even more profoundly. When my brother got his cancer diagnosis a little over two months ago, the earth stood still for me. Suddenly our joblessness seemed like a minor scratch on the record of life by comparison. All our focus shifted and priorities rearranged themselves. I've never experienced a major earthquake, but I've seen before and after pictures. One minute everything is neatly in place and things look normal. Then the shaking and rattling begins. A few seconds or minutes later, a building or a highway or a room is totally unrecognizable. For the people affected, life is never the same.
Life will never be the same for me anymore either. My brother's cancer is incurable. Many of the drugs are new and experimental and risky. We know the worst is yet to come as he faces stronger chemo treatments and a bone marrow transplant using his own stem cells. The unknown looms large even as we hope and pray that the treatment plan will cause this cancer go into remission for a long time.
Moments and days have become more precious. Finding the sacred in everyday living has become the new normal~~valuing relationships more than ever the new quest. Discovering all over again that things can make life beautiful and interesting, but people give life meaning.
Shortly after the holidays my brother came to stay with us for almost a week while his wife needed to make a trip with her high school students. They only live 4 miles away, but he couldn't manage being alone for that long because of some mobility issues due to pain. He teased me that I hadn't babysat him in over 50 years! I can't begin to explain what a gift this special time together was for all of us. We laughed, we cried. We talked, we prayed. Then we talked and prayed some more. We ate together, watched DVD's, received visitors, went to church. With transportation help, he was able to work half days. How often do adult siblings get an opportunity to share this kind of quality time? As I like to say, we got to talk in "complete sentences" ~ something that often is a challenge when our large family gets together with all the children.
One of the things my brother is teaching me is to look for what he calls "God moments". He's seeing them everywhere, and I am too. Hardly a day goes by that we don't hear of someone, directly or indirectly whose life has been impacted in a positive way because of my brother's situation. Strained relationships have been healed. Practical needs have been met. Situations have fallen into place in amazing ways. People are blessing and being blessed. The stories are his to tell. But allowing God to use this cancer for His glory is my brother's heart's desire. Here is a link to the blog he is writing.
Memorial Day '10
Don ran in our town's 5K race. He actually has 11 marathons to his credit.
Relaxing on vacation last June. For the first time ever, all the siblings, spouses, and our mom went to the beach together.
Don has always taken good physical care of himself. Here he is making all of us a juice drink.
Shortly before the diagnosis came, Don and Marcie went to see their oldest son graduate from the Navy's officer candidate school. We could never have guessed the pain he was having was due to a cancerous tumor crushing his L5 vertebrae.
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you..." Ephesians 1:18a