Monday, November 09, 2015


Just because I know me, and I know how to trip over my own words so well, this is likely going to be an awkward sounding post. It's not my intention though, which is why I feel the need to put the disclaimer out there first.

I've blogged before about how Ruby's diagnosis of leukemia didn't shake our world as much as I would have expected it to; her first diagnosis (T21) was our (my) earthquake and leukemia was just like a small aftershock...barely noticeable in comparison. The stuff that's come along with leukemia, mainly the hospital stays, has been the biggest challenge we've had, but that's been manageable thanks to incredible friends and family who have helped with more things than I could list.
So I tend to process things by writing in my head, usually on long hikes or runs. Then I put those words down when I get in front of the computer. That doesn't happen much in real life because, well....real life gets in the way. But in hospital life, lights out happens before 9PM and then I have an hour or so before I go to bed, so I have time to put those thoughts down. Those thoughts are the ones that run through my head not during the long hikes but during the long laps around the hospital with Ruby. Those thoughts always point me to God because when you look with the right set of glasses, it's impossible to not see Him.

When I was about 15 I started to require glasses to see the board (that's chalkboard, not 'smart board', kids) in class. Little by little, I've needed to up my prescription each year as my range of in-focus sight without glasses decreases. Every once in a while I'll grab an old pair of glasses by mistake and put them on in the car, or at a movie theater. I will quickly realize my mistake because those glasses do not allow me to see all that I need to see, whereas when I put on my current prescription, everything is in focus. When things don't go my way, it is far too easy to look at my situation with glasses that aren't showing everything in focus. Things that don't matter much will have too much importance placed on them, while that which should be the center focus might not even register.

All of this to say, I don't think how our family is approaching Ruby's situation is especially praise-worthy or strong. I really don't. We have plenty of not-strong moments, and the rest of the time we are getting through the best way we know how, putting on our glasses when we realize we've taken them off again. But we are often given praise for the way we are handling things, and people have asked me, "How can you be so strong in faith?"
When I answer that question in person it's always hemming and hawing, and I often replay conversations back in my head thinking of witty things I could have said. So when I answer that question in my head later, honestly my response is often, "We have to be strong because of the hand we were dealt."

Yup. Here's where it may come across as awkward.

That response is not meant in the way you likely think. When I say 'the hand we were dealt', that's not because we have nothing else to cling to, not because we've been given hardships like Down syndrome and leukemia, not because all we can do is put our head down and pray for a better tomorrow. Rather I wholeheartedly mean it's because we have a wonderful and loving Father to cling to, because we've been given gifts beyond what we could ever ask for in Down syndrome and in leukemia, because all we can do is raise our hands up and thank God for the blessings he's given us yesterday and today, which pale in comparison to our tomorrow.
This is where the glasses thing comes around again. It is very VERY easy for me to put on my out-of-focus glasses and complain about the hand I am dealt. With everything: weather, bills, disobedient kids. But when I look at life with clear focus, I see moments of awesomeness in every nook and cranny of my life and everything points to Him.

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