Sunday, November 9, 2008

Urging Us On

When I was about 15, I walked the Lincoln Trail as a boy scout. The Lincoln Trail retraces the path that Abraham Lincoln walked between Springfield, Illinois where he was studying law and New Salem where he was living in the mid 19th century. It’s 20-plus miles – a pretty long trek for a youngster, especially if the youngster isn’t in the best of shape. But my brother and my cousin had both done it and I wanted to do it too. Hiking the trail earns the scout a medal and a big sense of accomplishment. Besides being dead-tired toward the end of the long day, I remember feeling lonely during the journey, even though I was with a small group of others who urged me on. I probably wouldn’t have made it without that support.

This memory could be a metaphor for our cancer journey. Susan, Jon, Patrick, and I are all experiencing this trek in our own ways, and I think it feels a little lonely for each of us even though we have lots of people urging us on. I don’t know how people do this without the encouragement of others because getting to our destination is a long trek. As with many life experiences, hiking the Lincoln Trail must have been part of my preparation for this time in my life.

Lately, the show of support has been particularly evident from all of you. We’ve gotten loving, non-invasive messages in all kinds of ways and from all sectors of our lives. Some of the messages have become dependably regular and are our bedrock. Some of them have been unexpected and gratifying surprises. The number of people who are with us on this journey is astonishing, and humbling, and touching. It illustrates the best of our humanity as we travel the circle of life together. It is what will help us make it. In spiritual terms, all of you equate to the presence of God in our lives – and God is mightily present.

In the last month Susan has gone from what had been pretty stable pain control to sudden, severe new pain. After a couple of weeks of increased doses and being “out of it”, she seems to be in a little better control of the pain for the time being. Her memory and cognitive abilities are still pretty variable from one moment to the next. She struggles with the loss of function. We know pain management will be an on-going challenge. Stability and mobility are growing issues and all of us are fully exercising our coping skills as we strive to keep her safe, comfortable, and at peace with the situation. It’s already been a long hike and we don’t know how far we have yet to go. The sense of accomplishment we seek at the end will be helping Susan finish her earthly life in peace and comfort. But we’ll make it – because we have you urging us on. God is with us. Thanks be to God – and to you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want to give you guys big hugs next week when I am in town!! -Doug