We are THAT family right now
You know THAT family. I’m sure you’re acquainted with at least one; perhaps in your church, someone from work, perhaps it’s your extended family. The sad story, typically related to illness or death. The tragic, the unexpected, the awful, it’s happened to them. That family’s story chokes you up, makes you question life’s fairness and makes you appreciate the blessings in your own life.
You know the typical characters in the story: young children, newlyweds, good-hearted people, recently retired, the innocent. The identifiers and adjectives only make the story more unfair. That family doesn’t deserve the bad things they’re experiencing. That family didn’t see it coming.
You love that family and it hurts you when they’re hurting.
You’ve made them meals, cared for their children, grieved with them, donated money, supported them any way you could. You’ve prayed and cried for that family. They are your extended family, close friends, part of your community. Perhaps you’ve never met that family but you’re connected through others in your circle.
But right now, we’re THAT family.
My wife has breast cancer. She’s 32. We have 2 daughters: the oldest is 6 and the youngest is almost 4. Of course, we didn’t see it coming–no one ever does–but here we are.
Those kind-hearted people staring at a scary diagnosis? That’s us (at least I think we’re kind-hearted). That family you keep in prayer? Yep, that’s us. The young children you cry for when you think worst-case scenario? Mmhmm. I still can’t believe it, but yes, that’s us.
We’re experiencing all the feelings you’d imagine. Shock. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. Anger. Doubt. Love. Numbness. Grief. Uncertainty. Joy. Peace.
Wait, what? Joy and peace?
Surprisingly, yes. Let’s be clear: those weren’t the first feelings to come forth. But they’ve since overtaken the others. We have peace in trusting God to give us the strength to face anything–even this. We feel joy knowing that we are supported by friends and family who love us.
Not long after the diagnosis, as I began to realize the long road ahead of us, a dear friend reminded me of a story in the Bible. As a paralyzed man lay on a mat, his friends, each holding a corner, carried him to see Jesus, believing he would heal their friend. In their strength and with faith, they carried him past crowds, onto the roof of the house where Jesus sat, and lowered him through a hole they cut in the roof.
My family is the paralyzed man on the mat. And our people are carrying us forward.
Though we’re helpless to change these circumstances, accepting our paralysis has actually given us freedom. Just like the man couldn’t get up and walk, we can’t run from this diagnosis–try as we might. Fighting and complaining won’t change things either. Faith and trust will.
We believe Jesus can heal and we trust our family and friends to carry us to Him. We could never make this journey on our own and being reminded of that story gave us permission to rest (thank you AS).
We are loved. We are cared for. We are going to walk again.
I never wanted to be that family and part of me resents it. But oddly enough, part of me sees the gift in it. Often we’re occupied with our own life or try to care for others, not seeing or appreciating the beautiful community we’re part of. People have surrounded us to hold us up in prayer, offer support and encourage us through the most difficult time of our lives.