Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Health and Healing

When mom called a few weeks back and told me she had breast cancer my heart dropped. Since we lost my dad several years ago I had not had to deal with a personal loss at this level. I dread the idea but know that she and my step dad Bob are getting past mid seventies and things start to happen.

Lee was a dear friend and we spent years together hanging out and doing life together as single dads. Lee had an amazing story. He ran away when he was 14 and joined the circus. After the circus years he became a merchant marine and travelled the world. He was a great story teller and he always had one.

A nuclear power plant could not produce as much energy as Lee. He was always planning his next deal or business, visiting or socializing, working or loving on his two daughters. One day out of the blue my cell phone rang and it was Lee. “Hey, I’m in the hospital can you come see me,” he asked. Worried I left right away and when I got there he told me the news. He had pancreatic cancer and they were going to start treatments right away. What, Lee, how in the world?

It was a fast progression from that call to when he moved into our home where we cared for him and his daughters as he prepared for the end of his time here with us on earth. Through it all we learned about the horrific disease and watched this vivacious, little ball of fire turn thin and frail. It hurt. We were introduced to Hospice and finally Christopher House through this experience. Lee left for his reward Feb. 13, 2006.

Lee told me one time that 11:11 on the clock was special to him. I can’t remember what it was, probly something to do with winning the lottery or a finding a wife, I’m not sure. These days it seems I look at the clock a lot and it happens to be 11:11. My wife and I always say hi to him at 11:11 and talk to him for that minute or two. He left that with us to remember him, weird but classic Lee.

What seems like just a few months ago my wife’s best friend’s husband Jeff was diagnosed with the same hideous cancer. They were married less than a year and he was gone. It ravaged this strong, courageous, funny, brilliant professional poker player just as it did my seafaring friend Lee. My wife walked closely with her friend and shared what we had learned just a few years earlier. It may have helped some, but there is little you can say during those times.

I know the Lord can do miracles and healing is one of them. There are mighty and wonderful stories of those who were diagnosed with a horrific disease only to have it vanish. There are those who have lived years past the date they were told would be the extent of their time on earth. I believe in all my heart God does these things.

As Jesus walked the streets and people learned of His healings and believed His teachings they came from near and far. Just to touch His robe was enough to be healed for those who believed. Jesus healed with mud and spit and touch. He healed by speaking it over someone and professing that they be healed, He even empowered His apostles to heal the sick and lame.

The part that is hard for many of us to understand can often be “why won’t you heal me or my family member or friend.”To be honest, I think I struggle with that as well. But even His closest friends, the apostles, had a hard time with healing and miracles and truly trusting up to the end and they spent three years walking next to Him.

When Lee was sick we talked many times about what his life meant. He was often concerned about his legacy and what he was leaving behind. He prayed to accept Christ while he was sick. Although I think he had already done it, he wanted to, again, showing those around him He loved Christ. He began to share his faith with those who came to see him and at those emotional times I saw Lee’s ministry at work. We experienced amazing healing of hearts at his bedside, we saw people walk away changed. We may never know the impact he had on everyone who came to see him or heard about his illness. I believe God used it to His good and Lee’s daughters and friends found a peace in God they may not have found elsewhere.

I know that sometimes God does not answer the questions when I think He should. Sometimes He does not answer them the way I think He should. But I can honestly say that as far back as I can remember all those moments I thought it could never be any worse, got better. The pain of so many things I did not think I could live through has faded. I believe one day I will know the answers to all the questions and it will all have been based on a loving Father’s care for His boy, me.

My mom had her surgery, all the lumps we removed and they believe that for now she will be fine. We were blessed by Gods love in real time, our time. I want to learn to be OK with however He answers or not. I want to learn to listen better and ask for his hand more often. As far as I am concerned, I am fine with less of me and more of Him. I need all the help I can get.

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