I am slowly climbing out of the hole chemo dug for me. Laying in that hole has been easy. Being intentional about climbing out of it has been hard. I have needed your help. Thanks to everyone who lowered a rope.
What a mess this has been! I still don’t think I quite have my wits about me yet. Dazed and fatigued are my best descriptors for how I feel these days. Oh, and loved. I feel very LOVED.
Have you seen the show “Fat Guys in the Woods”? It’s on the Weather Channel. I think. Or maybe I’m just imagining it in my chemo fog.
Anyway, three sedentary guys are taken off into the mountains for a week of survivalist training with a fierce, intentional leader. His goal is to awaken them from their lethargy so they can learn to survive. It almost kills them – until it makes them men.
Their guide and leader (an Eagle Scout!), Creek Stewart, is offering them life out of his fierce goodness. This type of connecting so very much captures my heart.
This from my brother-in-law, Harvey Kirkpatrick:
“When someone grabs your shoulders, looks you in the eyes,
seemingly has no agenda and says slowly and deliberately “I love you” ..
that gift .. manna from heaven ..
blessed sustenance for the day in the journey of the fallen world of broken people ..
grace with a face.
And angels smile.”
I want to be this kind of man. I want to grab you by the shoulders, look you in the eyes, and pour God’s great love into your heart.
Whatever the obstacles, whatever the cost, I want to be a good man in the fiercest sense of the world. If you are loved well by me, if we have established a connection that offers you good gifts from God, my heart will be very glad.
Creek Stewart (“you are going to die if you don’t do what I tell you to do!”) makes boys into men. They have severe self-doubt, but he knows what they are ultimately made of. Wisely, he is insistent that they discover it for themselves.
He is kind and compassionate, even tender, but nonetheless insistent that these boys grow up and become true men. It’s magical to watch misery transformed into manhood through the tests of suffering.
If it weren’t for some very intentional people who love me enough to kick my butt regularly (yes, some of you), I am certain I would have curled up in the fetal position and died by now.
Remember, folks, I am no hero. I am only a signpost pointing you to a strength that lies beyond me – and you.
If I didn’t cry out to Christ for mercy and grace, I would live (and die) angry and terrified in this frightening world. Instead, He has come to me and is beside me in all of this. He sits with me in my pain. Hs fierce goodness sustains me.
A lot of you are praying that I will be healed of my cancer. Keep it up. I will say the “Amen” to that prayer any day of the week.
But I would never want to lose the gift hidden in this cancer. The nearness of God has become my ultimate good. He has become the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26, 28).
Place your trust in Him and lean into Him when you suffer. Creek Stewart will begin to remind you of Him as Christ teaches you how to live with fierce goodness in the middle of your suffering and sees to it that, no matter how bad your circumstances, you will never be forsaken or lost.
I leave you with a theological question from Jane: ” Dear God, instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don’t you just keep the ones you got now?”
Makes sense to me,