Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Stephanie Robertson is my first Guest Blogger. She is a friend from church and the kids' school. She is a technical writer and editor. She is donating her time to edit my writings for the book. But, before, I turn it over to her, please, remember Ryan and family. His time is close within the month. And, we have sad news from Thomas that his cancer has returned and his prognosis is poor. Please, remember Kayla, and Jerry, two little ones having important scans tomorrow, Thursday, at St. Jude.
The following is by Stephanie Robertson
I stood over my kitchen stove and reveled in the heat that radiated from the burners.  It was a cold December evening, and my family and I had just got back from a frigid overnight trip to my parents’ cabin in Tennessee.  An old wood burning stove and electric blankets were the only way to stay warm, but we all welcomed the chance to get out of town after Christmas.
As I prepared dinner, my husband checked our email on his iPod. 
“Eli,” he gasped.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Eli Williams.”
I froze.
We get frequent email prayer request from the secretary where we attend worship.  I knew instantly that this is what he was reading.
“What is it, Jim,” I asked in fear.  Jim didn’t answer but kept reading silently.  Why didn’t he say something.  Anything.  Had Eli been in an accident? 
“What is it, Jim?  Say something!”
“Cancer,” he managed.  “An inoperable brain tumor.”
No.  Not Eli.  Not someone we know and love.  I felt tears come.  How could this be?
Elizabeth and Eli talking the day before his first surgery.
The Williams family are good friends of ours.  Victor and Kristie became newlyweds a few months after Jim and I were married.  Kristie saved my hide at work once when I called in a panic, needing an experienced graphic designer.  Our husbands have woken in the early a.m. to play tennis together.  Kristie has kept all of us in stitches at ladies’ retreat.  Our kids go to the same school and are big buddies.
I won’t say that I couldn’t believe that something like cancer could happen to our good friends.  To good people.  It does.  We attend a big church, but paradoxically, it’s a close-knit church.  We’ve seen bad things happen to good people.  And it hurts.  For example, one family lost their daughter in a drunk-driving accident about 11 years ago.  One member – a mother of two young girls – was lost to cancer, leaving a grieving father to raise them.
When I found about Eli’s inoperable brain tumor, I knew that I had to go to the Williamses. Jim stayed with our child, while I drove the three miles to Williams’s house.  As I drove, I wondered if I were doing the right thing.  I really felt the need to just be with them, but at the same time, I worried that they just didn’t want to see anyone at that moment.  I was thankful that there were a lot of cars parked outside of their house.  I pulled my car to a stop.
Although it was dark, three of the Williams children were jumping on the trampoline.  I pulled off my shoes and joined them in a good jump.   
After a while, I told them that I wanted to go say hi to their mom.  They continued their jumping, and I went inside.
It felt good just to be able to see Kristie and give her a hug.  She was surrounded by some of her family, local friends, and some members of our church family.  She looked well, but there was a certain look in her eyes that I’d never seen in her before.  I can’t begin to describe that look with words.  Maybe it was a look of pain, loss, confusion...fear.  I only know that it looked as if a certain light of her soul had been switched off.
A lot has happened since that night.  Eli had been, in fact, suddenly snatched out of his own world and taken to a painful, fearful otherworld of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.  At times the air felt statically charged with prayers for Eli.  Prayers from all over God’s big world for one precious little boy.

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