Friday, August 3, 2012

All the days ordained

Life is interesting.  Just about one year ago I arrived at the hospital to sit with my in-laws while my Father-in Law had his stomach removed and the cancer that was consuming him along with it.  We didn't have to wait long as the surgeon quickly discovered that despite several rounds of chemo the cancer has spread and could no longer be stopped.  There would be no surgery.  We were given the devastating news that Don's cancer would be terminal.  They sent him home and we all prayed he would make it to Thanksgiving.  And then Christmas.  Then John and I prayed he would make it til after our trip to Florida.  Then I started hoping that possibly he would see his grandson graduate from high school.  And now here we are a year later.

He is still sick.  He is thinner and more frail each time I see him.  And knowing he is uncomfortable and struggling and there is nothing that can be done is frustrating.

For the past year we have been on the verge of grieving.  Friends have been inquiring about his health.  Our church has prayed for him every Sunday for more than a year.  And he is still here.  We don't see him much, and he can't do much but he is available.  We can ask questions.  Learn more about his history.  Even though he retired from plumbing years ago I still wonder who will be there to help us problem solve our plumbing emergencies in the future.  Did my plumber's son learn it all?  We think about him and his impending death all the time.

About a month ago a friend from church lost his father.  He did not have cancer, they did not have any notice.  One day he was here the next he was gone.  It has been a difficult loss and we have watched him grieve.  And as I watch him I can't help but think about our impending loss.  All the while we have been watching and waiting for Don to die, Joel's dad was going about his life as if it would go on for years.  Making plans, living life.  A year ago we knew Don was going to die soon.  Yet he is still here and Joel's dad is gone.

That day, almost a year ago, before Don went into surgery, a pastor from his church came and prayed with us and read Ps 139.  I copied some key portions last year when I wrote about the day.  Today I look at verse 16,
"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

God knew then that Don would live another year while Joel's dad would not.  He knew long before they were born how many days they would spend on this earth.  I find it fascinating.

Today another friend sits at his father's bedside.  Diagnosed with cancer after Don, a much less aggressive form and yet...Apparently the cancer didn't know Don was in line first, with a more aggressive and dangerous form a cancer.  And now our friend Andy sits and waits.  While John's dad continues driving his mom to work each day and sharing in all our lives.

"'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Jer 29:11

God knows.  He knows why we have all spent a year pre-grieving while Joel gets no notice and Andy gets so much less time.  He has a plan. And it is good.


  1. This is so touching. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Mary Jane Swartz

  2. You know, it's interesting...I have thought a lot about you guys too in the last month. I have had more of a real notion of how hard the last year must have been, as you have had John's father's death constantly before you. We will pray for you as you cope with it, and please know that we are here for you guys as you go through this process. Thanks so much for including thoughts about my dad here...God has taught me so much in the last month about his provision. See you soon.