May 2021 - "Love One Another"
by Pat Ward
A few days ago, I received the news that a former student from Otter Creek School had been having headaches for a few weeks. After a several days of no pain relief and consulting with the doctor, the parents took him to the ER. An MRI was done and a lesion was found on the back of his skull. The ER doctor was fairly sure that it was malignant and scheduled surgery.
The mom asked her son if she could share the news about his surgery. He gave his permission, but emphatically told her to tell people not to worry. He wanted her to post pictures on Facebook of him smiling. It broke my heart to not be able to sit with them at the hospital, but there were limited visitors. We texted back and forth throughout the day.
When the surgery was completed, the doctor told them the good news was that he believed he was able to remove the entire lesion and would call with the biopsy results in a few days. The Otter Creek teachers (former and present) began to pray. We ALL felt HELPLESS and wanted to do whatever we could do to walk with this family who mean so much to all who know them. The teachers collected money and asked two former teachers who also serve on the board of EM and me to go shopping. With the generous amount of money they raised, we were able to buy him a “bucket” of many of his favorite things. I was able to deliver the gifts to him once he came home from the hospital.
He was overwhelmed. He opened each gift and expressed appreciation for it. His dad asked him what he wanted to say to me and have me say to all of the people who had participated in giving the gifts. He said, “I feel guilty because so many kids don’t have toys and would love these.”
Oh, to have the heart and gratefulness of a child! Before I left, the dad asked me to pray over this precious child and their family. I knew the doctor had called that morning to confirm the lesion was malignant and they would explain the news to him after I left. I put my hands on his shoulders and prayed. When I said, “AMEN”, he said “AMEN” also and thanked me for coming. I prayed all the way home for the conversation they were going to have.
NO PARENT SHOULD HAVE TO TELL THEIR 11-YEAR-OLD THAT THEY HAVE CANCER! This and many other heartaches are the world we live in. Many of you have lost mates, parents, and had hard news this year. We hear so much from the media about 2020 and the year of Covid. It has caused us great fear and concern. We have become intolerant with people who disagree with us. We argue over whether to wear a mask and social distance. And yet, when the crises come, our perspectives change. We forget about our differences. We gather together in the name of Jesus and pray to HIM who reigns on his throne. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it is to remember where my citizenship is, who is really in charge of this world, and that I need each and every one of you in my life whether we agree or disagree.
Look up all the ONE ANOTHER verses in the Bible and remember what your life and calling is to look like. You don’t have to have the right words or answers when you walk with someone in crisis. Our “right words” might not be what they need. You show up, text, make a call, or write a note to let them know you care and will walk with them. It can be as simple as shopping for a “bucket of toys” for even in that moment the three of us who were performing this small task felt joy (as did everyone who gave the money). We weren’t making the story different but we were showing up.
We don’t all have the same talents. That’s the beauty of God’s community. It takes a village and every act done in the name of Jesus will bless the giver and the receiver.
If Russ or I can ever help you walk through a difficult time, we would love to listen to and spend time with you.