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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Blessed Be The Name of The Lord

Blessed be Your Name
by Tree63

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name

I heard this song as I went to get out of the car today at the Hospital. It foretold my day. I sang it many times during Andrea's treatment. It is a hard song to sing and truly believe the words you are saying. It comes from Job 1:20-21. Jobs reaction after he was told he lost everything including his sons and daughters.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."

I first met Dora and Speedy at Wilford Hall chemo room during one of Andrea's treatments. Dora was adjusting to the reality of Cancer and I was trying to pass on the experience of 4 yrs of chemo treatment. Experience I wish I never had. It was a meeting God had orchestrated.

Today I received a message that Speedy was in the ICU at BAMC, being treated for pneumonia, the same ICU where Andrea was treated.

As I drove up to the hospital a flood of memories came to me. As I parked I looked up to the windows of 3 South, the ICU. I sat frozen in the car unable to get out, as memories of my 22 days of going to this hospital came flooding back. I thought back to Andrea and her telling me about her first appointment at Dr Atkins office. She sat in the car frozen in fear until she could make a call to a friend. Then my phone rang and it was Ginger. Her voice calmed me and her prayer gave me strength. I got out of the car and walked through the ER doors, the same doors I pushed Andrea into in her wheelchair. I saw where she sat in her wheelchair as we waited to be checked in. I saw her smile at me. I walked past the ER bed Andrea laid in. I saw her as she began to have difficulty breathing. I saw the look on her face when she could not breath, I saw the painic in her eyes as she looked to me for help and I could do nothing. I saw the doctors rush to intubated her. I heard the silence as Andrea would not utter another word to me. I stood outside the doors of the ICU and remembered my daily routine of being at the hospital. I walked by "Andrea's room", mercifully empty, and I found Speedy in the room next door. I saw nurses and doctors who had treated Andrea. We exchanged uncomfortable greetings, both knowing it was not true, I was not doing great.

The room was frighteningly familiar, the ventilator, the IVs, the nurses, the doctors, the whole sicking mess. But there was also in the midst of pain the most beautiful sight and it brought to me a found memory.

There I saw a family surrounding a man of faith. And in the room there was so much love, I found myself remembering why Andrea and Speedy are so special. They both took up their cross in faith and in doing so they gave those of us who were blessed to be around them a peace and strength. Andrea and Speedy are the same in so many ways, and I could feel every emotion and thought Dora was having as I watched her lean down and kiss Speedy's hand. As she gently rubbed his hands she was alone with him in a room of people. Her love so evident in the tenderness of her touch, and the gentleness of a kiss on the forehead. I think at that moment I could have told her her thoughts, her fears, and her hopes. I have never felt so connected to someone I had only met a few times, but Dora's path crossed mine for a reason and today I could not help but think how Andrea led me there today. She was still impacting people.

Dora and I held each other as I walked out of the ICU. I looked into Andrea's room as we passed by. I remembered her petite frame laying in the bed. I remembered asking her if she was too tired to fight. I remember her telling me she still wanted to fight. I remember she smiled whenever I tried to read her lips. I remember telling her we had to have her stomach working to have a chance at getting off the vent, to then have a chance of fighting the cancer that was causing her liver and lungs to fail. I remembered the enormity of the fight we had. I remembered having to tell her her stomach was not taking the food. I remember her look when I told her. I remember the sinking feeling in my gut as I started to grasp what this meant. I remember her response, she mouthed, "Oh well" and shrugged her shoulders. At the moment I did not fully grasp what we had said between us. In two days I would. I remembered the struggle between life and death that took place in that room. I remembered how I fought to keep death away from Andrea, as if I was trying to keep back a pack of wolves with a torch. But they just crept ever closer in a ring around us as the flames died down. I remembered when death came to offer its comfort. I remembered how death no longer seemed my enemy, as if I was acknowledging a worthy opponent after a tough battle. We met in the center of the battle field and shook hands. I remembered how I no longer despised death for he brought the only source of comfort to my wife. Who I once hated I now strangely welcomed. I was defeated and I accepted the outcome of the battle, the terms of surrender. He took his spoils of war and left standing in that room, alone with my two boys.

I ask you to pray for Dora and Speedy, tomorrow is their wedding anniversary. Pray for their children and for all the family. Pray for the doctors wisdom and the nurses strength.

Today I went back to the scene of the crime I faced one of my greatest fears, but as I left I was glad I had gone because I saw the worst side of cancer and I remembered my own battle, but I also saw the strength of the human spirit, I saw faith and I saw love. And I realized for all the horrendous things cancer can do to the body it can do nothing to take away love. In fact where there is true love, cancer only serves to highlight that love. It only makes what was strong stronger. It brings to the surface the true character of a person. Today I witnessed a son's respect for his father who taught him to be the man he is today. I witnessed a daughter's love for a dad that made her feel special as a little girl and a woman. I witnessed a sister's dedication to her brother. Most of all I witnessed the unbreakable bonds of love between a husband and a wife as they face cancer. I saw a wife care for the man she had loved since she was young. I witnessed commitment lived out. I witnessed strength being passed between two people who had become one. I witnessed faith when difficulty was attempting to mock all they had professed. I watched a family come together and surround Speedy. I know he was aware of us all. I know he was comforted by the love that was so evident in the room.

I left the hospital remembering that the Lord had taken, but He has also given. I remembered the song I heard as I arrived and I praised God for his unending unfailing love for me and Dora.

I ended the day at a fund raiser for our Relay for Life Team from work. It was organized by a wonderful friend Rene. I'm asking anyone who reads this blog to prayerfully consider making a donation to the American Cancer Society in memory of Andrea and in honor of Speedy. You can use the link below to go to our team web page and make a donation or if you prefer there should be an address to mail a check. I think you have to cut and paste the address in your browser.

God bless you and remember it is the same God who gives who takes away. He is sovereign and He is love.


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