Monday, January 31, 2011

Battling with cancer -- let's play dominoes

Yesterday was week 17 of my Sabbath Experiment and let me tell you -- I am so glad I started this. These past few months of Sundays (and occasional Saturdays) where I have forced myself to step away from work for a day have been such a blessing. I know I will look back on these months with gratitude of what I didn't miss.

For example, here's what yesterday would have looked like, had I not been doing my Sabbath Experiment:

Sunday School, church and lunch with the kids and grandkids. That's a given. But after that, Bill and I would have rushed home to work on cleaning up the mess in our house. You see, we've been a bit busy and/or unmotivated lately. That is why our Christmas tree is still fully adorned in our family room, along with all the other Christmasy decorations, knick knacks, etc. still placed around the room. Now that we don't have a family here anymore, the door to that room remains closed most of the time and we just don't use that room much. So it is easy to ignore.

However, it's not so easy to ignore all of the Christmas stuff in every other room of the first floor! On Saturday, we finally went about the task of taking it all down, packing it, and carrying it upstairs. Of course, this also means doing so serious cleaning before re-decorating for the remaining months of winter (we're big time seasonal decorators here). By 10 p.m., we were beat and decided to quit so we could watch the new Hallmark movie (with Luke Perry -- quite impressed with his performance). That means there is still stuff all over the dining room table and miscellaneous out-of-place items in the kitchen and living room. The family room still remains intact...we'll tackle that another day.

So traditionally, yesterday would have been another day of work. We would have rushed home after lunch and tried to make some sense out of this mess. But then, we would have missed the blessing of the day.

Here's what we did instead. First of all, we didn't rush home. When we got here, we laid down for a bit. Bill took a nap and I scrolled through Facebook for awhile. Then I called my mother (something we all should probably do more often). Finally, we got in the car and drove about 45 minutes to spend the evening with a man who's been battling cancer for more than a decade and his lovely wife. For purposes of privacy, let's call them Fred and Joyce.

Recently, Fred received the discouraging news that the cancer treatments weren't working and his cancer had spread, at an alarming rate. Aside from a miracle, things do not look promising. Still, he is forging ahead and trying yet another round of chemo, which will probably be followed by a risky surgery and chemo "bath." There is nothing encouraging about this picture.

When Fred called us a couple of weeks ago with the news, he sounded like a man who had been knocked down one too many times. Cancer was winning and he knew he had to muster enough strength to get up off the mat and keep fighting. That's the kind of man he is. He is also a man of great faith and he knows that at any time, the whole situation could be turned around by God's grace and healing.

So what do you do when you know someone you love is feeling this discouraged and facing what seems to be his last months of life? You call him up and say, "Hey, how about if we come over for a night of dominoes?"

That's what we did, and it was a wonderful evening. Did we talk about cancer? Nope. Did we sit around quietly offering our concern? Nope. Fred knows how concerned we are. He knows we are praying constantly for his healing. What we did was played a few competitive rounds of a game and laughed a lot. Then we made plans to do this on the last Sunday of every month from here on out.

It was the Sabbath. We came home to the same mess we woke up to yesterday. And we woke up to it again today. Does it bother me? A little. But let me tell you something -- the mess means nothing. The time we spent with Fred and his wife means everything. And I believe that's a true act of worship.

How did you spend your weekend?

Keeping it holy on the Sabbath,


Keeping it

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting blog! Thank you for your posts.

    Your old readers )


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