Somewhere in the middle of writing it, I knew I had to share this on my blog. I wrote it on my way back from last week's trip to MN in my journal. As I sat waiting in the airport, my thoughts drifted back to my parents... desperately trying to process what I had seen only a few days before. I was able to go with them to dad's radiation the first morning and photograph the entire thing. It was a sobering morning. I'll be sharing the rest of the images later this week, but I'll leave you with this for now... ----
The lump swells up in my throat and I know my heart lingers with my dad. Grieving. Some song, or picture, or color, or memory triggers it - this time it was seeing a bald man remove his glasses to rub his eyes in the same way my father so often does...
These moment seize me at the oddest, most inconvenient times. Every time seems inconvenient, and yet welcomed. Somehow the lump in my throat and my sudden wet eyes seem fitting. Like I deserve this. Like I don't have to deal with it enough. Like the smile on my face only a moment before was undeserved. But I know this isn't true. My Jesus comforts. Not just me, but my mother, my father, my family. This comfort takes many forms for us - a card, a hug, a meal, a verse from friends - even a friendly smile from the nurse as we enter the familiar radiation waiting room together.
They get many friendly smiles from the nurses. Dad makes friends everywhere he goes with his own smile, his easy going manner and his staunch optimism. It's infectious, his joy is. Even my mother, with that ever-present weight in her eyes can't help but giggle and blush as dad makes one of his favorites jokes about her and her good looks. "I don't want you to go by yourself!" he insists, "I don't want to share you with the rest of the city," he says flirtatiously, and winks at me as I stand behind her watching this beautiful moment. But even with the weight in her eyes, my mother draws strength from her source - Jesus. My Jesus. Her Bible is often open, and her eyes often closed; peace washing over her face. It's crazy - you don't know how strong someone is until they need to be.
The word startles me as I sit with them in the doctors office after his daily radiation treatment. His doctor explains that they may not need surgery; that maybe they don't need this last resort. "Maybe" has become a familiar word to them. After 3 years, the what ifs and maybes have been countless, threatening to drown them in fear and worry. But they refuse. They refuse to be fearful or afraid.
They remain strong. Hopeful. Courageous.
These are my parents.