I had a humbling moment this week, involving a special person I barely know, and it’s weighing heavily on my mind. I think this is God talking to me, trying to teach me a lesson, and I’m working hard to understand it.
Several weeks ago, on a Sunday, I learned that the 8 year old son of an acquaintance had been diagnosed with kidney cancer. On Saturday, the day before. This seemed so sudden and strange and wrong. The kid woke up with a bad tummy ache Saturday morning, they took him to the walk-in clinic, and BOOM cancer. Wait, is this how it goes? One day your life is perfect, your kids are perfect, you’re worried about the economy and the election and mowing the lawn before rain, and then BOOM life is suddenly altered. Candidates, carpools, the weather forecast, your checkbook balance – who gives a crap?? Your baby your BABY is hurting and suddenly nothing else matters.
In August, I did a two week gig as Sunday school teacher, and sweet Thomas and his older brother were in my class. I was instantly captivated by Thomas’s blond curls and easy laughter. Our lesson involved drawing a picture of what makes each of us special. Thomas drew a very excellent ping pong table, and in describing it to the rest of the class he had just a hint of sarcasm to his humor that I loved! Once I put two and two together and realized I knew his mom and dad from the choir, I picked him as my guy to razz a bit – having him demonstrate the “dance” we were doing for the rest of the class, and making him my line leader. Nothing major, but just something a little special.
Just two weeks after that, we learned of his diagnosis, and each Sunday since have continued to pray for Thomas and his entire family. But for me, it’s not just on Sundays, I can’t stop thinking about him. At the grocery store, I wonder if I can pick up his favorite candy bar? In the car on the way to soccer, I think “is he well enough to play outside?” Helping with homework, signing a note to ride the bus home with a friend, sending in treats for a class party, I pause each time to think about Thomas’s life now.
Earlier this week, I had an eye problem that caused severe stay-awake-all-night-in-pain pain for a few nights, and my thoughts again turned to Thomas, at times praying for rest from my own ache and other times offering up my suffering in exchange for Thomas’s. But most of the time reminding myself that what I was going through was nothing compared to what Thomas is dealing with.
I went through the drive-up lane at CVS yesterday to drop off a prescription. I got in the lane, second car back at 5:07. After several minutes, I remarked to BB that those folks in front of us should have gone inside, since they were tying up the drive thru for so long. Several more minutes later, at 5:18 (11 minutes, sheesh!!!), I expressed my impatience by inching up just a bit, and my daughter and I were mutually complaining to each other about the long wait. I’m sure that other driver knew I was back there, and was probably feeling just the right amount of guilt for making me (ME!) wait.
Just one minute later, the CVS clerk handed out a very large shopping bag to the driver of the car in front of me. As she reached forward, I saw her face reflected in the mirror, and realized it was Kate, Thomas’s mother. I could see his tow head in the back seat. I was instantly humbled. MY troubles, MY eleven minutes… they’re nothing in contrast. I am an ass, and God showed me first hand yesterday. I think that’s what He was trying to tell me.
Still searching for answers. Still yearning for guidance. Still praying for Thomas. Won’t you join me?