Monday, October 29, 2012

Survivor Guilt

Have you ever known someone who survived a life-changing event that took the life of another?  I am learning that many of these people feel guilty for surviving.  But, when you really think about it, none of us would have a chance of surviving our final judgement and enjoying eternity in Heaven had it not been for the life-giving blood that freely flowed on Calvary.  A life was given so we might live.

"Survivor Guilt"

The car was crushed beyond repair
Her family was left in utter despair
But I walked away with hardly a bruise
Why did I win while she had to lose?

First my sister and then my brother
Both taken within a year of each other
Cancer got ahold and wouldn’t let go
Why I’m still here I just don’t know.

Caught in the middle
Is a strange way to feel
Lost somewhere between
Gratefulness and guilt.

Childless months have turned to years
While hopeful anticipation turns to tears
 And here am I with my fourth child due
Living my dream while theirs won’t come true.

He had been with the company eighteen years
Downsizing is what they call his worst fear
But I got a raise and an office with a view
How can I face him…what will he do?

Caught in the middle
Is a strange way to feel
Lost somewhere between
Gratefulness and guilt.

            He was perfect, but died for me.
            And because He did, I can be
            Found, not lost, unchained and set free
            Guiltlessly headed for eternity!

Melissa B. King
October 29, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sharing Hope

Today was an exciting day!  I attended a meeting of the Charlotte affiliate of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  Normally, the room is full of people sharing stories of loved ones lost quickly and dramatically to this terrible disease.  While those stories were shared through tears today, something was different.  We had FOUR survivors present with us!!!  My aunt is usually the only survivor to attend regularly.  Today, we had three others!  It was encouraging to hear their stories and see the look of recognition and acknowledgement as each shared their story.  It was the first time for many of them that they had someone say, “I know how you feel” and really mean it.  What a lonely road we travel when we feel we are taking steps nobody else would understand.  How reassuring it is to know that we are not alone on our journeys.  The hope that reflected from survivor to survivor made today really special.   It reminded me of the hope we share with our brothers and sisters in Christ as we help each other along this path.  A hope that says, “I know how you feel and I know who can help!”

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Remembering Grandma

October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is coming to an end.  As it does, I find myself thinking about my grandma.  I remember the scratchy feel of her living room rug on my face when I would play of the floor.  I remember her dining room buffet that had toys in one end.  I remember her kitchen that would be considered very "retro" now.  I remember being scared of the laundry shoot in the upstairs bathroom that would deliver dirty clothes all the way to the basement three floors below.  I remember the white hen candy dish with the pink, powdering candies inside.  I remember her three-wheeled bicycle.  I remember that she was a happy, generous, lovely lady.  And she loved to laugh.  Daddy tells a story of trying to teach her to drive.  I believe they were in a VW Bug.  I know it was a straight drive.  He tells of them jerking and jolting across a field, stalling and restarting, then jerking and jolting some more.  I can picture the scene in my mind...her releasing the clutch too quickly and not giving it quite enough gas.  Then the laughter!  Full and deep and honest, complete with tears streaming down her face!  Fast forward to one her visits from Ohio to my family's home in North Carolina.  Now, my grandma was not a small woman.  She was very fluffy and huggable!  One of my most vivid memories is of her sitting with me at my little table in one of my little matching chairs in the corner of our kitchen sharing breakfast with me.  I wish I could have kept her around longer.  I wish my girls could have known her.  Had cancer attacked her later in life, she may have had more of a chance to fight it.  She was diagnosed at a time when doctors really did not know much about treatments.  Chemo was mixed into orange juice.  Radiation was used to the point that it burnt her up from the inside.  We have come such a long way!  Today, she may have been a survivor.  But, like all loved ones we lose too early, she survives in my heart!  Thank you, God, for sweet memories of special people! 

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

More Than the Leaves are Changing

God gave us a beautiful day for our second campus visit to St. Andrews University!  With a true Carolina Blue sky background, we caught the trees right in the middle of their wardrobe change.  Some had completely redressed in their new golden garb, while others were still wearing a miss-matched outfit of summer greens and fall reds.  As we crossed the bridge from the academic side of campus back to the residential side, I was struck by the way God planned these changes.  We don't go to bed one night with green trees outside and wake up the next morning to vibrant, warm, fall colors and the next day step outside to be greeted by bare limbs.  It is a gradual change.  It is one we expect and prepare for.  Not unlike the changing we watch our children go through.  While I did not sit and contemplate what it would be like for my first child to go off to college when she was toddling around with her pink baby, I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew it would happen.  So, now that I see her dropping her summer leaves of childhood and donning her more mature colors, I am trying to hide my surprise.  As I listened to her converse with professors and future classmates and coaches, I was beaming as bright as the autumn sun!  As the time draws closer for her to walk that campus bridge daily, I want her to grow boldly toward her future stretching her limbs for the blue sky while keeping her roots securely buried in the love and support she will always have in God and family!