From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Monday, September 21, 2015

That Is Where My Brother Lives


I have a beautiful new friend.  My sweet friend Tracy had told me so much of her, and how she had helped her in every way she could as Tracy went through very difficult times.  So when Tracy told me she had fallen very ill, and needed prayer, the Lord God so easily filled my heart with great love for her.  I felt like I had known her for ten years or more in a deep friendship.  God does that among his people, we will after all spend eternity together, and there will be none among the family of God who is not known and loved by all.

So I began writing emails of encouragement and prayer to Jennifer.  She was at first too ill to respond, spending days in the haze of powerful pain killers after extensive surgery.  She had advised Tracy that this would be the case, and not to worry if she did not hear from her for awhile.  On the day of her surgery I woke in the night with her on my mind.  I knew it was God calling me to prayer for her.  God's power is released by our prayers.  He wants us to make supplication in order that we might understand that His response is one of love toward us.

Not long ago I received my first correspondence from Jennifer.  The blessing was mine, she is truly a gifted writer, even in writing a thank you letter to a stranger who God had tapped to pray for her.  I find her correspondence so refreshing, and delightful with great insight about life.  As I said, she has known great tragedy in her life, and this morning she wrote a "letter," (somehow I cannot think of her words as email,) and toward the end of it she shared a story about two of her children, both no longer living in this world.  It touched me so that I asked if I might share it.  She gave her consent.

Jennifer lost an infant baby boy to SIDS when he was very young, the following is the story she told me of how she explained his passing to his older brother.  At first I was only going to share the part of her "letter" to me which told the story of her young son, but as I highlighted the text, my mouse just covered more and more of her words as I realized the comfort and hope they might hold for others who are experiencing hardship in life.  I am usually very selfish with such words of beauty and understanding, keeping my riches for myself, but these words...  There is such power in these words...

The words that follow are her own...

Dear Debra,

Hoping my message finds you well and happy!

As I had mentioned, I had the follow-up meeting with the surgeon.  The news is a little less good than I had hoped for but I am determined to get through it!  And how could I not, when I have kindness, prayers, good thoughts and wishes coming to me - totally unexpected no less.

According to the doctor, based on the pathology reports, the Grade level has been (re-)determined as Grade 3 (not Grade 1), indicating a more aggressive form of cancer. Evidently, it had already moved into the muscle layers surrounding the uterus and into some lymph nodes. The doctor also made me aware that they had removed 38 lymph nodes.    The good news is that, at this point they do not suggest chemo therapy, but radiation therapy which is to start on September 29.  Prior to that date (9/24), I will have a full body CT scan to ensure that no other growths are apparent or developing.  The doctors seem to be of the impression that I have a hereditary form of cancer - they refer to it as "lynch syndrome". Perhaps with your medical experience, you had heard of it?  The university research center offers DNA testing, considering circumstances (and fear driven)  I decided to take part.

As you can imagine, my emotions run from high to low and although I tend to be optimistic, there are moments of sheer cold fear and all the things I tell myself about life, death and acceptance of all, I do struggle. I read and reread your messages as they remind me again and again to pray and that I am cared about and being prayed for.   Meanwhile I keep trying to work on my "bucket list" :-)

One thing that is quite at the top of my list is, that I cross the country (US) at least one more time.. ..Back when, when the world got a little too crazy, I used to put my dogs, their food and water in the back of my car, add on the top carrier with some clothes for myself and drive across country in whatever direction I felt like. What a wonderful feeling!

It reminds me of a little story in my life which I would like to share with you. Many years ago, when my second son (Patrick) passed away of SIDS, I tried to explain what happened to my oldest son (Jerry, the one who died this year). He was only 3 1/2 years old the time. I told Jerry that Patrick had gone to be with God. About a year or so later, during a move 'cross country, we stopped at the Grand Canyon. As we looked out, over the rim into the canyon, I happened to say "that is truly God's country" - to which Jerry said "oh, that's where my little brother Patrick is....!".

I just know that you understand.

Thank you once more for your caring messages, the incredible kindness you extend to me and - your prayers!


              What sweet privilege is mine in this friendship... and yes Jennifer, I do understand...