Thursday, July 09, 2009

Where the rubber meets the road

One thing I was looking forward to not doing this week was cooking. I had absolutely no plans to make anything except reservations. But when MaryGrace called yesterday and asked me to take a meal to a mutual friend I jumped at the chance, thanked her profusely for asking and went right to the store.

Why the change of heart? Because I was taking a meal to Bonnie, a friend I’ve gotten to know through school and The Sound of Music production. Her children are friends with Michael and Amy and I’ve been more than impressed with them; they are sweet, fun, all-around great kids who have gone through hell in the last three months as they watched their mom and then their dad get diagnosed with cancer.

Bonnie was diagnosed first. It was just as school was ending. I saw her when we dropped our girls off at a birthday party; she looked drained which is exactly how I felt. We were all tying up loose ends, trying desperately to finish school for the year. I didn’t think much of it until three days later when I heard she’d been admitted to the hospital with acute leukemia. Sparrow Hospital was her home for the past two months where she endured countless treatments and unthinkable side effects. And through it all her husband was by her side. For better or worse, in sickness and health. They were a picture of that promise.

While Bonnie was still in the hospital being treated for her leukemia Steve was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s diffused large B-cell lymphoma. Seriously, what do you say to that? What?

Here’s what Steve said: “I pray that this pushes my children closer to God and relying on Him and finding their security in Him and not necessarily the earthly parents that God gave them for a while. I don’t say that as a negative comment; I just strongly believe that we all should look for our security from God and rest in Him no matter the circumstance.”

Steve began keeping a blog as a way to update everyone on Bonnie’s progress. The blog has now morphed into a his-and-hers cancer status update. His daily summaries are one part medical jargon, the other part sermon. This man is living his faith in the hardest of circumstances. Reading of Steve’s trust in God has caused me to question what I believe. Would I, in the face of unthinkable pain and uncertainty, be able to say as Steve did: “God has assigned this difficult task to us... He takes great care to make sure the assignment is the exact amount: measured and controlled. How comforting it is to know that on one hand the portion assigned to us is specifically measured based on our ability to handle the task yet the cup of God’s love, peace, joy and kindness overflows without measure. You can’t ask for more comfort than that during a difficult time as this.”

So yes, I jumped at the chance to cook for Bonnie, Steve and the kids on their first day home from the hospital, hoping my small contribution could in some way minister to them. Because they will never know how their words and actions during this incredibly trying time have ministered to me.