We’re on our way home this morning from chaperoning a youth trip with our church. Those youth are such a neat group – full of energy, brains, and witty characters. We were excited as we left Wednesday afternoon.
Before all of the packing was done, I sat at my computer Wednesday morning with nothing written for today’s post. I stumbled across a Facebook post of a friend. God drew me to her story, and I think He did it to show me He had today’s post in His hands all along.
Melissa strikes a chord that rings true with all of us on occasion. Her story is so touching!
We are surrounded by vivid reminders of cancer’s reach and destruction while encouraged by the fellowship of suffering springing up in hallways, shuttle vans, and waiting rooms. Yesterday we were waiting in front of our hotel for the shuttle to pick up riders for the clinic. It was social hour inside the Residence Inn – snacks and drinks available for guests. Two women walked out to catch the van – balancing plates and wine. They both seemed a bit relaxed. We overheard the driver tell them he would drop them off at the Kroger next door. That pious little church lady inside me thought don’t they know van rides are for medical purposes?
I glanced at Maggie barely able to suppress rolling my eyes in annoyance. Then the younger of the two spoke to us. Before we made it from one parking lot to the next, we knew she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time after beating it last year. She has three children at home – the youngest is five. She’s from Trussville, AL. Her name is Alecia. And she’s scared.
We shared the facts of Maggie’s situation, too. She laughed at the incongruity of reassuring Maggie that God held them both in His hand – while she was tipsy with wine. That’s when she acknowledged she wanted a bit of numbing. She looked like she might cry when she said, “And my hair has just grown back.” But she quickly shrugged it off, smiled, and said, “Hair is way overrated.”
Please pray for Alecia as she enters the battle again. And pray for me that I would stop my judgmental tendency of placing people in neat, pre-labeled boxes to save myself the trouble of relating to them. She left the van at Kroger telling Maggie, “I love you.” With inner church lady no where in sight, I was able to tell her the same. And mean it. How many times do I not get a chance to revise my judgment? Those times I don’t hear the details that pause my critical spirit before the door is totally slammed shut. The door of ministry. Understanding. Love. It hurts to begin to count the missed opportunities. If I learn one lesson from our time at MDA, may it be that one. Love first. Listen second. Speak last. And never roll my eyes.
Thank you for prayers as we finish this screening period and get started. We have details to work out. The first 28 day cycle of the clinical trial will require us to be at MDA for some purpose every week. We’re starting to get a sense of the schedule and what will be required, so we have decisions to make. We know our Lord is before us – in space and time – we need only follow. Good night. We love you.
I ask you to pray for Maggie. She turned 19 yesterday and has been in this cancer battle for several years. She amazes us all with her positive attitude and cheerfulness in spite of some very hard times, medically and emotionally.
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your story. 🙂