We’ve officially lived in our new home for a month now. Let me rephrase that. We have had a new address for a month now. Mason and I resided at KU for about a third of that month. We (mostly Matt) have gotten so much done in that time. It’s really starting to feel like home. We’ve gotten to have friends and family over and the kids have enjoyed giving the “grand tour.” Last night we even got to help out some friends by letting them stop over to bathe their sweet girls because their hot water heater went out. We joked and empathized with them about how quickly you wake up taking a cold shower. We said real friends share hot showers. Hold that thought. We’ll revisit.
If you remember, soon after Mason was diagnosed, he started begging for a dog and my co-workers convinced me that every boy needs a dog and my judgment was a bit skewed and I pretty much immediately started the hunt for a dog that could help Mason through his time laid up on crutches. And, if you remember, the perfect dog was ready to join our family and we fell in love immediately. I remember getting the rundown of Jazz’s behaviors from my friend, Gloria, who has reached that glorious time in her life where she and her husband are ready to travel and have found it hard to travel and own a dog. I remember her saying that Jazz wasn’t a fan of thunder and I remember thinking that I really am not either … no big deal! And then we had our first thunder storm as Jazz owners and she was so completely terrified that I basically got no sleep at all that night trying to figure out how to comfort her. She was truly terrified and I remembered that I may not be skilled enough to be a dog owner and that even though you get a dog for your kids, it’s really just another kid for mom to take care of and I felt like we all of the sudden had a newborn baby. But, so many other things have happened since then that I haven’t thought much about Jazz hating thunder, because she is so little work, really. But, here we are on night #3 of THUNDERSTORMS. And, I seriously feel like the exhausted mom of a newborn and it has been ridiculously hard. In the middle of the night last night, I decided to take Jazz downstairs with me to a dark, windowless room so she wouldn’t be able to see the lightning predict each boom and maybe we could get some sleep. It seemed like a good plan, but it failed.
It turns out, however, that it was a good thing we had to be downstairs last night. If not, we wouldn’t have noticed that the carpet was soaking wet this morning. Because, of course, we were getting a little too comfortable in our new home. And, just the night before we joked about cold showers. So, our hot water heater malfunctioned and not only can we not take a shower, but now we have a small pond in our basement. On a typical day, we wouldn’t have found this pond until evening, so thank you, Jazz. And, thank you to our friends who returned the favor and let us use their shower tonight. Because good friends share hot water.
And then there’s this. This thing that has had me smiling in amazement all day. Because only God works like this. After a frustrating morning, a water restoration company finally came to our home at almost noon. All I wanted was normal. Mason was a school and I just wanted to be at work. Crazy as it sounds, I love my job and I miss my friends at work. This man walked through my front door and asked me how I was doing and I wanted to tell him to skip the small talk and get moving so I could just get to work. But then I looked at him and he had the kindest eyes. The kind that seem so deep that you can just stare into them and feel genuine kindness. And I stammered out something to the effect of, “Well, I’ve been better. We’ve only lived here a month, we’ve barely gotten things unpacked, and now this. Oh, and my son has cancer so it’s not like I even get to live here long enough to enjoy our house because we’re always at the hospital.” Great. I seriously just threw out cancer. What am I thinking?
So, we go about the reason for the visit, and the next thing I know, a whole crew of men are bringing in hoses and equipment. And, this man, Brett, with the kind eyes, asks if we can talk. Again, I’m thinking, “I’m already like the worst employee ever. I never go to work anymore and now, on a day that Mason is actually in school, I’m still not working! Just let me get to work!” But, I said, “Sure!” What happened next I will likely never forget. He asked me about Mason. How old, what hospital, what type of cancer, etc. As I talked, he teared up. Those eyes, again. Except, now I was mad because he thought he could just stand there in my living room and cry! I mean, if anyone should get to cry in my living room, it should be me, right? The thing is, when I finished and he started, I found out why he was crying. This man did not show up on my doorstep by chance today. This meeting, this crappy hot water mess, this day was written long before now. Brett has a story – probably one of the most inspiring, compelling stories I’ve ever heard. He’s overcome hardship after hardship and he’s using his life to help others. He was never supposed to walk and yet he played every sport imaginable. He was abandoned, abused, momentarily rich, and also homeless for awhile. He was born with a severe club foot that the doctor almost cut off – and no fibula (the bone Mason will no longer have after surgery). He has had cancer hit his family time and time again and he hasn’t let any of this be a negative in his life. He has a foundation called Destination: Inspire. And guess what that foundation raises money for?
And, guess what hospital his foundation is currently raising funds for?
Crazy. Mind blown. Oh. Em. Gee.
So, there are 26 beds on the peds floor of KU and I believe about 3/4 of them are cancer patients. That leaves you with 20 patients that Brett is riding his bike hundreds of miles across entire states to raise money for. And, he walked into one of those 20 homes today. And, he’s been where we’ve been. He understands what it’s like to live in a hospital as a child. He gets it. And, we stood in my living room for 30 minutes and talked. And, he told me some of the things his foundation has accomplished and I told him that he, of all people should sleep so well at night knowing he’s done so much good. This man loves God and serves Him so well. And, before I finally left for work, he took off his silicone bracelet and I took mine off and we traded. Because, he wanted Mason to have the one he was wearing that had traveled over 2000 miles on his bike. And I wanted him to pray for Mason, because clearly God is using him.
And then, I went to work and I told all of my people about how crazy God worked today. And, on my way home, I stopped at the vet and spent the best $40 ever. Jazz is now the owner of a Thunder Vest – and guess what?! It is thundering this very minute and she is sound asleep. And, I should be too, but I just have to get my words out!
I have to share one last thought that I can’t stop thinking this week. I was in TJ Maxx looking for the perfect something to fill the walls of our new home and I found a picture that said something similar to this.
I read this twice and then I was sad. I couldn’t help but realize that this was supposed to be inspiring. But, it’s so wrong. Psalm 139 clearly tells us our days are already written. They are written in perfection. And, we must trust Him.
Please keep us in your prayers. We go back to the hospital on Thursday and will be there for about a month straight because of testing and surgery along with the chemo schedule. Pray for endurance and ways to connect as a family living in two places. Pray for good days and few side effects.