Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January 15, 2008

D-Day minus one. Please excuse my battle analogy, but I am a child of the 40s and I do sense us as staging for a great battle. The landing is tomorrow. And the beach is the UW Cancer Center and our consult with the oncologist, Dr Sheehan.

In past childhood fantasies I was the Marine with a gun. I see myself today as the chaplain with a Cross on his helmet. (That's a big shift for me!)

It’s so nice to have a majestic cathedral in your backyard. And, of course, that is our 50 acre woods with its hills and trails. On my walk today, I heard this: You prayed for the gift of love and I gave it to you; but you must remember that with the gift of love comes its close friend, compassion. You cannot have one without the other.

I know that to fully love means to deeply give ourselves to the other. And that we cannot really experience the total deepness of love without totally giving ourselves. So when your beloved is frightfully ill, you cannot but experience their pain. That is the great paradox (or it is such a large para-dox we should call it a para-geese!) (groan!).

I remember the first time praying for someone who had been deeply injured in her life. It was at an Alpha Conference and suddenly, as I three of us were praying for this woman I was struck by feeling her pain and suddenly tears of compassion were flowing down my cheeks. Aha, God, so this is what you meant?

If we enter into great love we will experience great pain for no love on this earth is everlasting… And if we hold back, then we will be spared the experience of parting pain, but never experience the fullness of love for another… never feel compassion.

Yesterday, I pasted some photos of Sabine on this blog (see below) and I think they, collectively, begin to capture her essence, her love of life – and her supreme “giving-ness.”

You all have asked how you can help. I just ask you to hold those offers and I won’t forget them. The landing will be difficult (I think that will be tomorrow) and then the journey toward victory begins. I want those of you who feel you must help know that your offers are graciously received – they are comforting to us – but remember victories are not necessary won during the first engagement. We are in this for the long run!

Some things you can do: Write a card to Charlotte (Sabine’s mom: 5284 Country Road K, Blue Mounds, WI 53517), she is holding up the cooking and farm chores while we nurse Sabine and work to get her strength back. Put Sabine on your religious institution’s prayer list. Send Sabine a card that she can open next week.

Pray for us and for the UW Clinical staff for tomorrow.

(And an appropriate prayer from my friend, Pastor Wayne Nieminen: Almighty God, our only source of health and healing, who alone can bring calmness and peace: Grant unto us children, a consciousness of your presence and a strong confidence in you. In our pain, weariness and anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us with your loving might and permit us once more to enjoy health, strength and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.)

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