Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gideon's JOY

After Gideon's last dosage of steroids, he was having symptoms of withdrawal. He was shaking – his entire body. His legs were cramping up in muscle pain. He had just thrown up in a bucket he got out himself and announced that he was going to his room. I thought he was going to go cry, scream, maybe even hit some pillows over the pain coursing through his little body. I thought maybe he was going to kick his stuffed shark like he does whenever he feels overly angry about the fact that he has cancer. I had to check on him. I thought he would need hugs of comfort or maybe redirection if he was destroying furniture out of anger. What I witnessed: Gideon had his arms out. His face was tilted up. Peace was almost coming out as visible white light from his shining face as he spun around and around in slow motion circles singing, “Oh! This is gonna be a good life. It could really be a good life! Good life!”

What was that? How could he, while being so tormented, be so full of something more profound and deep than happiness? “Children are resilient,” is what I am told. I think it's more than that. Gideon gets it more than most: No tragedy, no horrendous or catastrophic event has the power to ruin a life. Why? Because of JOY.

It is a peaceful radiance during the crisis of life that resonates and spirals out of those who choose joy in every moment – even the excruciatingly painful ones. I say that is the most pliable moment, the most green with new growth situation we can come by. Our hearts are broken, and we see the promise in the day. We draw the air into our lungs and feel the life there. The sun has never been so bright, and those birds. Do they sing every morning? Because I didn't notice until now. We notice a stranger helping someone open a door and breathe in more of that joy. It's God. He is everywhere if we unlock the negative circumstances that jail us.

As my friend Kristen and I talked about, joy is much different than happiness. Happiness relies on positive circumstances while joy is that awe-inspiring flame that lights the soul amidst the most bleak of situations.

I'm going to find the joy. I plan to feel the love of the blessings I have around me. Like Gideon, I won't let anger and resentment paralyze me – my own anger or that of the people around me.

Gideon showed me God, once again. It IS gonna be a good life.

“'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” - Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, August 1, 2011

DOUBLE Special Mattawan Blood Drive!

What two causes are the most heavy on my heart? 1. Enough blood donations to bless those who need transfusions and 2. Money towards finding a CURE for all childhood cancer. Jennifer Bussies and Greg Mikelson of Mattawan have strategized a way to make BOTH happen at once. I know. Too much goodness to process, so I'll slow myself waaaaay down. I sometimes forget you are reading this and I'm not just talking to you. My speech pattern goes feverishly quick when I am beyond excited. This would all read like a high-pitched tongue twister if it was my actual voice. I guess that makes you lucky. No deranged chipmunk chatter for you! Back to the miraculous facts...

On Thursday, August 25, there will be a Michigan Blood Drive at the Mattawan High School Cafeteria from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eventually there will be a link to click on to schedule an appointment on this site by scrolling to August 25 and Mattawan High School. Here's the sweet-sweet-sweet topping on top of this perfect event: for every person who donates blood, $5 will be donated to CureSearch and $5 will be donated to the Mattawan Student Council. This is HUGE. I can't tell you how beautiful this is to us all. And yes, there will be a fish there for you to fill out for Gideon.

If there are any summer plans to make, I'm really hoping this event will be a part of them. Gideon has spinal chemo that morning, but I'm thinking once he is lucid, I will bring him in and he can watch mommy get a turn with a needle injected by a white labcoat-wearing person. It'll be his turn to offer the words of encouragement.

Please join us! You will give lifesaving blood AND bring in well needed funds.

THANK YOU, Jenn and Greg! Thank you Mattawan Student Council for so lovingly sharing your profit with such a worthy cause. TWO worthy causes... Oh. Again, I love humanity.