It has been a frequent occurrence lately that people will ask me how I am doing. I explain that despite barometric emotions, I am largely doing quite well. This prompts the inevitable question, "no, how are you really doing? Are you just putting on a brave face?" to which I answer, honestly, "I really am doing well. God has thus far granted me grace enough to persevere and I pray that it continues."
I admit, though, that today was a trial. Since Saturday evening, Heather has been battling a bacterial infection that has left her nauseous, febrile, and hurting. Because I am a light sleeper and I feel her pain, as she tosses and turns or rushes to the bathroom, I lie there wondering what I can do know that that the answer is "nothing" except to pray. So I pray--for sleep, for comfort, for reprieve, for God's will. So in my fatigued state as I watched my wife wracked by pain, retching, I wondered, "is this what chemo will bring? Are we in for 16 weeks of this? or more?"
Mid-day, Grace spoke with Gen Thul (please check out her wonderful writings here), who invited us for dinner tonight along with the Fugates for a pseudo-small group. Once I felt assured that Heather was comfortable and in the capable hands of her mother, I looked forward with anticipation to the reunion with our dear friends. You see, we had been apart for much too long not just because of Heather's cancer, but also because Gen and Aaron's third daughter, Amelia, was in the hospital for 10 days with encephalitis and only recently returned home.
Grace, Ian, and I arrived first to visit with Aaron for a few minutes followed shortly thereafter by Gen and the kids. Finally, Zack and Sara arrived, nearly completing the reunion as Heather remained home to rest. The excited anticipation was just one of the wonderful feelings I experienced tonight. As our children, who missed each other desperately, fell into their old routines, sounds of excited chatter, laughter, and even happy screaming emerged from upstairs with a greater intensity than we have heard in a long time. I felt their emotions in my own heart as well as I was able to visit and joke with friends whom I cherish dearly.
I think that if Satan wants to attack God's followers, he merely needs to isolate we Christians. We function best in community. I truly feel strength, rejuvenated strength, in fellowshipping with these people. As I watched and listened to our children together, I was struck that they seem to be more than just friends, they are more closely connected than that. In the same way, Heather and I consider these people--Aaron, Gen, Sara, and Zack--more than just members of our Bible study, more than just friends. They are truly our brothers and sisters in Christ and we love them dearly.
John 13:34--"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."