We are astounded by the loving care lavished on us over the last ten days by family, friends, neighbors and even total strangers. The impact is profound when we hear of groups coming together to pray for us, or when another person says they’ve been praying every hour of the day. We just can’t get over it.
Our fridge and freezer are stocked with food I didn’t make. We are set for weeks to come! Our mailbox is full of encouraging words and nourishing Scriptures. Also in the mail are gifts: worship CDs, uplifting poems, gift cards. One envelope contained a large check directed toward the travel expenses of our children as they make their way home: $700 for seven children. We are speechless.
Today as we drove to Chicago from Michigan, we enjoyed the company of Nate’s brother, Ken, who is staying with us for a while. The two of them have a long, positive history, and Ken’s arrival yesterday gave us all a boost.
After several months of not seeing his only sibling, Ken wept as he hugged Nate, who comforted him in his mix of grief and love by saying, “It’s ok, Ken. Take all the time you need.” The dramatic physical change was excruciating for Ken to see.
Today was not easy for Nate. He was injected with a long tube of radioactive dye at 10:15, then underwent radiation #4 at 11:00, followed by a full body bone scan that was supposed to take place at 2:00 but didn’t kick off until 3:20. Not having expected such delay, we hadn’t packed his pain medication. It ran out when he was on the table under the massive scan camera, and his agony spanned the better part of that hour.
After it was over, the staff kindly found him two bags of ice for his back pain, and we hustled him into the wheelchair and off to the car for the long ride home in rush hour traffic. Although Ken and I were worn out, Nate was worn out times ten. Yet as we motored toward Michigan, he spent nearly 40 minutes in several business phone conversations, trying to put out fires and give legal counsel to those calling his cell phone who didn’t know of his cancer.
Arriving home, the intoxicating aroma of pot roast and potatoes welcomed us. Just as meaningful were the vacuum lines in the carpet and the scent of pumpkin spice candles. Nelson had built a fire on this cold, rainy evening, and the scene whispered, “You’re home now. All is well.”
Mary had been busy again. Clean, folded laundry was piled high. The dog was missing, which meant he was on a walk with her. Beds were made, and most impressive, 26 chocolate puddings sat on the counter (next to a warm apple pie).
The best was yet to come, however, when the front door opened and Linnea, Adam and Skylar walked in, all the way from Florida, chauffeured from the airport by Klaus. Mary and Bervin joined us for dinner, and we sat in a circle in the living room, centered around Nate in his lazy boy. (Straight chairs around the dining table are too painful now.)
After a yummy meal, Nate wanted to go right to bed. Once he was settled in, he and I read email and snail mail from far and near. And as he drifted off to sleep, the following email sentence hung in the air:
“We think we know what roads there are to travel, but God can lead us even when there are no paths.”
Today God led us along a path we didn’t want to follow, but the way was dotted with blessings: praying friends, a mailbox full of goodies, a brother pushing Nate’s wheelchair, two bags of ice for pain, a stocked freezer, a clean house, a crackling fire, our grandbaby and her parents, and a road that led back home.
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)