When I was five years young I fell backwards while ice skating, smacking my head. Ice is hard in its frozen form and my world went black as a miner’s lung. Protective helmets were seldom worn in those primeval times. Kids lay all over the ice, some for days. “Push Billy aside,” we would say. “He’s getting in the way of my slap shot.”
Dad arrived, carried me home, dabbed my head with a warm cloth, and called the doctor. When I came to, he didn’t lecture me on balance or explain the laws of Physics: “Now Sonny, gravity and clumsiness caused your head to wallop an immovable object. Your brain jangled around in your skull leaving you to languish in a post-concussive stupor.”
All he said was, “It’ll be okay.” Then he told me of the time he passed out after smacking a lamppost. And I felt so much better to think he’d been where I’d been. I could survive what he’d survived.
We all need that comfort, don’t we?
As I type, my best friend Lauren is dying of bone cancer.
Many questions nip at our heals, but his laugh is enviable, his grin a rich comfort to family and friends. Where does it come from? He’ll tell you if you ask.
Beside Lauren’s bed a well-thumbed Bible tells of Jesus, the one Lauren follows. The night before Jesus died, He asked his father: “If possible, let this cup pass from me.” On many a sleepless night Lauren has voiced the same prayer. But in the end, with Jesus he has declared, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
His is the outrageous belief that in the midst of it all God knows what he’s up to. And that is enough. Ask Lauren what gives him comfort and he’ll tell you the same thing I thought about.
Chemo has stolen Lauren’s hair and he laughs about that. (“What hair colour does a bald guy put on his driver’s license?”) But it cannot steal his hope. Cancer has ruined his appetite, altered his plans and invaded his body. But it cannot steal his soul, cripple his faith or change his plans for the ultimate family reunion coming one day soon.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2 (NIV)
Is there someone in your life who is laughing against all odds? Someone who inspires you to be more joyful, more giving? I’d love to hear about them!
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