While we were in the waiting room one of the staff members came out and sat with us for a few minutes.
"You don't know me do you?" I replied, that I did, but couldn't remember her name. Turns out that she was one of the young people in Grand Bank who used to frequent the back yard of the rectory. When we were there our girls had all sorts of friends so our home, with it's large basement,big yard (with two wonderful huge rocks for lying on) and willing parents, became the hang out for a lot of young people.
This young lady and I began to reminisce,and in so doing recalled a couple of sad stories about tragedies that had befallen some of the young people in our town during those years. I had a special ministry to the young people of the parish in those days,partly because of my passion for youth work,but largely because many of our youth were going through hard times. We had a high rate of teen suicide,depression,drug and alcohol issues that obviously caused a lot of darkness and brokenness. The positive result was the formation of a community with a unique and strong bond.
Anyway,one of the young people we spoke of was a beautiful young lady named Michelle. She was a member of our Church,part of the youth group and a member of our little youth choir.
She was one of the kids who would come to the house,sleep over (sneak out to play in the yard at 3:30 in the morning,not knowing that they were being watched carefully the whole time), and was part of "the gang". She had a mischievous way about her ,and a smile that could cheer you up!
Let me make a long story a little shorter. In time, I left the parish,and physically left my beloved young people behind. They grew some more , graduated from high school and began to get on with their lives.
While Michelle was just out of High School,she was diagnosed with cancer. It broke my heart to hear the news.
It broke a lot of hearts,because the prognosis was not good. She fought bravely,finishing one semester of university and getting ready for another. In between, I had been invited to Grand Bank to do a wedding at the Salvation Army,so I went early to see my old friend. It was a good visit. She also attended the wedding. When the service was over,I joined her at the back of the Church for a chat and a hug. I'll never forget what she said. "Father John,that was a beautiful service. Promise me that when I get married you'll come and do the wedding?" A nod from me, and a smile. "Or my Funeral?" I looked at her and wept, I made the promise. Wasn't too long after that and she was gone.
Now, lets go back to the waiting room.
Shortly after my conversation, Dr. Sathya came and sat with us. This Doctor is so gentle and caring,that you automatically think of him as a friend. He explained the process of what was about to happen -pausing between P.A. announcements in order to ensure we heard everything that he was saying.
Then,after the technical stuff, said that he had looked at yesterday's M.R.I.
"Good News". He told us that the image shows a definite shrinkage in the tumour. he estimated it to be a almost fifty percent. "That's what I was hoping for",he smiled and left us.
What it means is that the Chemotherapy has been effective in doing what needed to be done. It also shows us that this tumour will respond to treatment. It allows room for some really positive energy!
So how did we feel?
- That prayer had been answered.
- We felt Thankful for the power of Prayer - and friends- and the Church - and all the notes and messages
- We felt like we had "Scored one for the Team". We were filled with joy.
We cried because of the emotions,and when we called our children, they cried too.
Any thing else?
I thought of Michelle and a host of other people who I shared news with over the years.
News that was not always good. I hurt for them and for for their families. Before God, in that moment I blessed their memories.
These wounded are the beloved of God,and the memory of them will remain in my heart forever. Their prayers and good wishes for me are precious.
I was amazed at how much it Hurt.
With all that we say about God.....
With all we say about His Goodness,Loving Kindness and Mercy.....
We should never forget that his answer is not always "Yes".
And, we should never forget that some people go through great pain and sadness - not because they don't have faith,or because they don't believe,
because life is hard sometimes, and we are human.
With all I say about God,
.....and pray for Grace to remember,
that I am no more loved by the Father or more deserving, or better, (or worse)
than anyone else.
I believe with all my heart though,that no matter what happens to any of us,it is God's will and action to keep us in his hand and love us. Someday,all will be reconciled and made perfect in his love. What a party we are going to have when we all make it home someday!
In thankfulness today,I say to you that I am just a beggar who has found some bread (The Bread of Life), and I wish to share it with as many other beggars as I meet.
May God Bless you My friends.