Sunday, May 13, 2012

Three hospital trips

On Friday Jamie had her weekly chemo treatment. She was tired from not having slept well the night before, and from the pre-chemo medication; and went to sleep pretty quickly once the treatment started.

I ducked out of the Cancer Center to pick Ashley up from school and run to the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions.

While I was driving, I got a call from my friend Andy back in Virginia. Last summer he and his wife Erin got some surprising news. Years after thinking they were finished having children (they have two great ones--a boy and a girl), they found out Erin was pregnant.

As I was driving Friday, Andy called to tell me they were on the way to the hospital. I was thrilled that Andy called me at that moment--I miss my friends back home, and getting that call brought a lot of joy.

Andy sounded happy but pretty calm. It sounds like things went smoothly; a few hours later I read about the baby's birth (and saw pictures) on Facebook.

After I got off the phone with Andy, my mind went to hospitals. I pictured Andy and Erin pulling up to the hospital. I remembered my experience in the hospital when my boys were born, the unbelievable joy watching a new life come into this world.

I imagined the excitement Andy and Erin must be feeling, to experience "new parenthood" again after many years.

As often happens, my thoughts wandered, stream-of-consciousness style, to some other friends in a hospital.

Rose and Rich pastor a church in Shoreline. I met Rose at an Emergent Conference years ago. I loved her approach to God and people and ministry, and got to know her and Rich over the years, worshiping and visiting with them every time we came to visit Washington.

Rich and Rose have a son, Ben, who has terminal cancer. Barring a miracle, it looks like Ben's life here is almost over. I cannot imagine the pain of losing one's child (actually, I can, but refuse to let myself--I fear the pain would be too great).

I have followed their journey on Facebook--Ben and his wife recently had their second child. It has been heartbreaking to watch what their family is going through.

The one nugget that does not leave me feeling hopeless about their situation is the faith and strength that Rich and Rose and all their family and friends have shown.

I thought about these people that I love as I drove back to the hospital where my wife was being pumped full of toxic drugs that are hard on her body, but necessary to kill the cancer in her.

I thought of my friends in other hospitals, one experiencing new life, one preparing for death. We are in the middle I guess; anytime you hear the word "cancer" you think of the terrible possibility, but we are very hopeful that the treatment will kill the cancer invading Jamie's body and give her many more years of life.

Going through something like this usually causes one to be more aware of and grateful for life. I know it does for me. In the midst of the craziness and busyness of life these days, I often try to slow down, look around, and smile at the beauty and joy.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I want to enjoy and appreciate and soak up every good and positive moment as it happens. I remember a picture of Ben holding his new baby, and think about how profound that moment was.

We will all experience (or have experienced) the three different situations I thought about in those three hospital trips--birth, healing, and death. And in between them are thousands of amazing moments that make up life.

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