|Charlie & Ben 2003|
In June our dearest friends’ son, Ben Finley, was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Many times I’ve thought about this post wondering just how I could put something like this into words. How do I begin to describe the emotion, fear, and sadness that entered my heart as I heard my dear friend Vicki crying through the phone telling me the doctors feared it was “not good news…possible lymphoma”. I wanted to jump through that phone and hug her, cry with her, just do anything, anything at all to help carry her burden and sadness.
Later that afternoon I waited to meet them at the hospital, nervous for that moment of looking into their eyes, wondering what in the world I could possibly say to bring them comfort. When Craig, Vicki, Ben and Jonathan (his brother) walked out of the elevator, and hugs were exchanged I stood before the bravest family I have known. Ben smiled slightly through his pain and said, “So I guess I have cancer. Crazy, huh?!”
So many amazing things have happened through this diagnosis, for the Finley’s and many others near and far. Too many things to write here. But I have had the privilege to be near them, support them in whatever ways I can, but most of all, watch them navigate life through this storm. There have been moments when the waves were high and looked as if they might destroy them. And yet there have been moments of calm and peace in the midst of pain and suffering.
Ben’s diagnosis has not destroyed this family, not even close. As I watch him go through chemotherapy and all the ugliness that comes with it, I have witnessed something so much stronger than any disease. Their strength comes from the God they serve, the One who gives each of us breath and the One who holds each of our lives in His hands. And so they choose to thank Him instead of raising a fist of rage and demanding answers to such affliction. They have accepted this from day one and asked God to use it to teach and refine.
As many of us know, it is through true suffering that we become completely dependent on God and that is when we can have a deeper understanding of who He is and His love for us. It is painful. I have not had to agonize watching my child be in such pain and face such difficulty and all the ugliness that cancer brings. I pray I never have to.
After observing these last two months all that Ben and his family has gone through, I have never seen despair. Sadness? Yes. Pain? Yes. Hope? Absolutely. Hope that all the medical intervention will do it’s job and rid Ben’s body of this cancer. But even more, hope that God is using this in Ben’s life, their lives and many others for good. I’ve already seen it. And anyone who has read Vicki’s email updates and her list of things to be thankful for will see the same thing. Hope.
|Before shaved heads|