Tuesday, February 9, 2010


It's really tough when someone you know gets struck by tragedy.

But then life goes on. We get distracted. When you have hundreds of thousands of media stimuli daily and life happens, it's easy to let things get pushed down on the list. Like an email inbox loaded with spam -- we tend to forget the important message that has scrolled off the page.

My friend Jim is dying.

He has an aggressive, malignant, inoperable brain tumor. Stage IV Glioblastoma Multiforme. But more importantly, Jim has a wife and three children (2, 4, and 7). He was diagnosed in November, when he felt general fatigue and dizziness. Without treatment, Jim would have been dead by now. But they are fighting every day with anything that's left to do.

I had let Jim slip from my prayers.



Life. Numbness. Distraction.

Then I saw him on Sunday at a Superbowl party. And I apologized to him profusely (instead of lying and telling him that I had been praying) and told him I would take up his burden in prayer. Every day.

If we stand close enough to someone when they get hit by a ton of bricks, we can take some of the hit. Jim may literally feel like he's been hit by bricks, and his family is dealing with this on a minute by minute scale. I just happened to catch one of the bricks by proximity on Sunday, and I'm walking around with the bruise. Even in these last two days of prayer for him, I feel wasted, worn out, sad, physically ill, angry, hopeful, depressed.

I'm wrestling with the idea that our God is the SAME GOD who delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, who sent his son to live out our death for our sins, and raised him to life. The same God who protects, heals, transforms. He created the universe and everything in it. He could heal Jim. But he also takes away. Sometimes, he chooses not to heal. And His name should still be praised. There's the struggle.

I can't imagine three months of this, and trying to deal with the potential loss, and explaining it to the children who are too young to understand, and the one that isn't too young. I can't imagine what his wife, also my friend, must be going through and what her daily life must be like right now.

I'm just so sad for them. I'm trying to be hopeful. But mostly I'm just sad.

I've taped his name to a prominent place in my house so I'll be reminded to pray. I'm going to move it around, so I don't get used to it in one place. I feel like I should do this for so many things: Haiti, poverty, my uncle's dad, my friend's grandmother, slave trafficking, my friend's mother-in-law, the peace of Jerusalem, my husband's brothers, orphans, my children, their teachers, etc etc, and the list is too too too long.

I can't tape up everyone's name -- It'd start to look a little bizarre to the outside world. "The Crazy Post-It Lady." That's what they'd call me. But when I start to push away the distractions in the controlled space of my home, the few things I allow to stay in my inbox will mean more, command more attention, and will move me repeatedly -- to prayer, to work, to action.

I praise God that I have never been struck with tragedy. My burdens are light. But that's why I can help carry someone else's. I have the arm room. I need to try not to fill it with stupid things. I'll be able to carry more. Praise His Name.

"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." Job 1:21