Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Grief and Joy

That is where I live these days. I live in grief and in joy.

It is interesting that you can carry both of these emotions - strong emotions - within yourself. And of course we do. We all do.

I will start with the grief. Yesterday I spent some time with Lisa and her parents and husband talking about what she wants for her memorial service. That in itself will tell you how remarkable this young woman is as she courageously faces the end of her life. I have been blessed to be a part of "team Lisa" as we have walked with her through the past 3 years of her living with stage 4 breast cancer.

What I have observed through this is how much she has touched the lives of so many people. Our healing team has provided reiki and prayer and companionship to her and everyone of us has been affected by her faith and her loving and giving spirit. I hear stories about the care of her doctors, nurses and now hospice caregivers who all "fall in love" with Lisa as they come to know her. She is a fount of wisdom - and we have received notes and emails throughout with uplifting quotes. Perhaps the most important is the Willa Cather quote - "Where there is great love, there are miracles" and while the cancer has not gone away, there have been countless miracles.

Lisa spoke at our church about a year and a half ago. She told about her experience of God through encounters with the swans that came to the pond outside her parents house. Everyone who was present remembers this. Three months later the cancer came roaring back and there has been all kinds of chemo. However, blessings throughout - like trips for her and her husband to Disneyworld and Hilton Head and a recognition of the care her wonderful mother Trixie has done for her. And in the last months Dawn Blevins has written the story of the swans in a children's book and I look forward to reading it. Remarkably, one of the hospice workers is an artist and may do the illustrations. And so her story will go on.

So, there is a joy in being part of knowing Lisa. And there is a joy to Christmas and being able to be with my children and grandchildren today as we will have our Christmas celebration and tomorrow with Chuck and his daughter and grandchildren. I have lots of family and lots of family joy.

And as I wake today and feel these feelings, I just am awed by God at work in the midst of it all. Always I pray that during these days that Lisa can live without physical pain and find joy in experiencing the love of all of us for her.

And I know that we cherish every day that we get with her.
Grateful, grateful, grateful for it all.

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