Our grand-son Cameron has very long legs and loves to run. He was very excited about going to a new place and running alongside his Dad Brian in a Warrior Dash on Saturday. But our daughter Cathy was worried and frightened when Cam showed up at the Finish Line alone, guided there by kind strangers.
She didn't find out till hours later what had actually happened. All Cam could tell her was that Daddy had gotten hurt and rolled on the ground, screaming with pain. People had called for an ambulance.
"Don't worry. I'll finish the race for you, Daddy," Cam had reassured his father. And, with the encouragement of those kind strangers, he'd raced on ahead to the Finish Line.
How amazing that during an unexpected crisis, strangers were willing to help a boy finish a race. How amazing that this boy who is on the autism spectrum saw what mattered the most to his Dad and finished for both of them the task that they had set out to do. His father says that they've been blessed - God provided. Now Cam knows the courage he has and what he's capable of doing. And his Dad knows how very, very much his son loves him. What great God-given gifts for a father and son!
Our daughter Mary Beth had a mastectomy for breast cancer this Summer and started chemotherapy this past week. At every Doctors' appointment, she's been given a good, hope-filled prognosis. She is surrounded by others who are survivors, who share their journeys with her to give her hope and encouragement.
Since her first chemo treatment this past Wednesday, she has been very, very tired, and queasy, but she hasn't thrown up. She agrees with me - she'd rather lie in bed for hours than kneel in the bathroom and "worship at the porcelain throne." More blessings from a God Who is giving her hope and love through the hands of a skilled surgeon and the unexpected kindness of strangers.
Our daughter Cathy had a physically and emotionally rough time when Brian was injured. Still not knowing what had happened, she was given directions to the wrong hospital at first and drove an hour and a half there in an unknown area with two upset little boys, only to be sent to a different hospital. Cam, stressed from running and his Dad's injury, threw up in the car. We all told Cathy that she'd made her own Warrior Dash, after having gall bladder and then foot surgery herself earlier this Summer. And Brian is in a lot of pain, hoping to see a surgeon this week since the Doctor could only partially set his dislocated and broken ankle.
And Mary Beth's going through a physically and emotionally rough time, since she has had to have a mastectomy and now has to undergo the grueling onslaught of chemo. After Christmas, she faces radiation. This is stressful not only for her but for her husband Mike and their young children Katie and Ian.
My husband and I have talked about how our faith's been tested and has had to deepen this Summer. But our Faith has shown us God's Providence always quietly moving, taking care of our children and their families, often through the gifted kindness of unexpected people who appear like light in their lives during their darkest, most pain-filled hours. God continually gives them blessings before they even know what to request.
"Give us joy to balance our affliction," we ask God, and God does. This Summer we also enjoyed family parties and significant birthdays: son John's fortieth, his daughter Octavia's first, and son Paul's daughter Claire's sweet sixteenth (and learner's permit!) And we got to visit with with our deceased son Peter's wife Merritt and her children, who live near New York City..
Faith allows us to see the glass of our life as being half-full instead of half-empty, to move forward in trust even when God's choices for our lives are different than our own. Faith allows our hearts to sing with gratitude to our God Who balances our lives between joy and sorrow, challenge and peace, and faithfully answers even the prayers that we haven't yet prayed. "Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, my soul; do not forget all the gifts of God." (Psalm 103, verses one and two.)