Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Closure Day, Oct. 11, 2010

We arrived in Memphis just before midnight last night. So many memories just approaching the river. On our right, the first sight was the Kroger where we shopped for groceries. Every week St. Jude gave us $80 to spend! Next was the Applebee's where Dave and I went on a date when our friends the Throops offered to stay at Ronald McDonald House w/ Ethan and Samantha. Our only private time in about two months. Thank you friends! Next was the Walgreen's where I desperately waited a half hour while Samantha screamed w/ tiredness and an ear infection. I had to wait for insurance to kick in (or something). My very practical Katrina suggested I turn on a movie for Samantha since we had the player in the car. Whew. And finally, on the left, the Red Roof Inn where we stayed when our family exceeded four, the limit for accommodations at St. Jude.

Just on that short 1/4 mile stretch, the heaviness of it all touched me, as it always does, and maybe always will. There's so much sadness mixed w/ hope at St. Jude. It's an amazing place. You never know quite how to feel; sad for the situation, happy for the care you get, sad for those who've lost the battle, happy for those who've won, hopeful for those who are still fighting. A community of people - patients, caregivers, personnel; even though the travel is difficult for me I HAD to be here today. For so many reasons. There I go, I'm crying. It's just so emotional. But I need to hurry up and finish because I don't want to miss a single minute of this important day.

So anyway, after that little stretch, we crossed the bridge. Crossing the bridge is always when the first night seems so real. Feb. 17 '08 - actually it was early morning, 5 AM. Such a long drive to get there. Ethan was flown down and Dave, Samantha and I drove. That's a whole different story, an amazing one which Dave and I shared w/ Ethan as we traveled yesterday. But back to that first night and the memories it holds: where in the world are we? What's our son doing lying in a hospital bed 7 hours from home? This place we've heard of since childhood that Danny Thomas founded. That's where the really sick kids go. Our son HERE??!!!

And finally, after the bridge, as we approached St. Jude, there it was, Ronald McDonald House. Our home for two months. What a place. Today I plan to go there to see Ethan's handprint on the wall in person. I haven't been here since winter or spring of '09 if I'm remembering right. The travel's been too hard for me. But I made it! And I'm ready to do all I need today to say good-bye to this chapter of our lives.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Common Thread

It's been an interesting month. Ethan's almost done treatment for leukemia. I'm studying 1 Thessalonians and end times w/ my women's Bible study. I read MaryBeth Chapman's book Choosing to See. I've been making progress on getting my physical condition on track w/ a chiropractor and special exercises at my health club. I've also been asked to help out with our church's Orphan Awareness Sunday and our town's Adoption Conference. At the same time, I deal w/ daily struggles w/ Samantha. I've also had the opportunity to serve a Chinese international student from ISU and start a friendship w/ her. My beautiful fourteen year old going on twenty is enjoying high school and going on her first "parent-approved friendship date" to homecoming, although she's not been given permission to date yet. Yeah, I know, we're old timers. But so be it. We have our reasons.

The common thread - life is a gift, our bodies are important, and at the same time we're looking forward to a hope that will never end, when our bodies will be made completely whole. Heaven is real. Earth is temporary, but while God has us here we live with an eternal focus. A big part of that focus is bringing the nations to Himself and loving the hurting in our world. It's keeping ourselves pure and set apart from the world, while being connected to the world (I Thessalonians 4).

I'm of course thrilled that Ethan doesn't have to suffer anymore. I grieve for the Chapman's loss and their son Will Franklin's trauma. I long for my body to work the way it's supposed to, the way it was designed to work. Whether that will ever happen again in this life is a big question mark. My condition is chronic, but God can heal if He chooses. He can also glorify Himself through using it as a thorn in my flesh. Either way, I win. God won't give up on me, and I choose not to give up - to fight the affliction to the best of my ability and be available for God to use me any way I'm able. My biggest calling right now is to be a godly mother to my daughters. One a birth child, one adopted. Both with unique needs. Beyond that, I can serve others in and outside the church as God leads.

Check out this link:

Beauty Will Rise