Current destination: Fort Worth, Texas
Next stop: Home
We made it back to Fort Worth just in time to celebrate Zoey’s 4th birthday with a bunch of friends and family. It was really special, especially since my grandparents flew in from Florida and my godparents from Georgia and Panama – all to celebrate Zoey and meet the new babies, Holden and Charley. Zoey got a million Barbies, stuffed her face with a Trolls cake, busted a piñata, and swam until she passed out.
But yesterday the mood shifted. I feel like a broken record always talking about how difficult, how consuming, how devastating cancer is, but that’s the truth. Living with cancer is oppressive; its weight often feels too heavy to bear. Fortunately, it’s not a weight we have to carry alone, though we sometimes try to, thinking we can somehow manage on our own. Last night, after a particularly emotional day (for all of us), my dad asked if he could show us something. Casey and I joked that we were nervous, knowing it would probably be something poignant.
We weren’t wrong.
The video he showed us was about a Catholic man diagnosed with renal failure when he was fairly young and the struggles of living with illness and worrying his family. Eventually, this diagnosis led to a deepening, an awakening of sorts, and lit a spiritual fire within him that sent him on a journey towards the understanding that he is not in control and that God will provide for his family. With great faith, family, and friends, he found hope and comfort. One particularly special thing everyone did for him was raise funds for him and his wife to go to Lourdes on a pilgrimage (read about Lourdes here and here).
After the video, my dad said a lot of things that made us cry, things that were encouraging and real and full of love, things that were uncomfortable and honest and difficult to hear. And then he made us an offer – if we were interested, he’d like to help send us to Lourdes, to take the pilgrimage, to give us time together. He said if we can come up with half, he will pay the other half of the cost of the trip. He told us not to answer right away, but to think and talk and pray and get back to him (before June 30th because that’s when the deadline is).
His generosity and faith continually astound me. Whether or not we’re able to come up with the money and go (because we’re jobless nomads now), his constant, unwavering faith pushes us to remain faithful, to remain hopeful ourselves. And the fact that we’re able to find faith and hope in the midst of such trying times is surely a miracle in and of itself.
Of course, if we go, that won’t stop us from hoping, from praying for another, just as we do every day.