No matter how long the night,
the sun always rises.
- Sarah Sandifer
Yesterday we were in the car getting ready to do our
annual "school shopping extravaganza." I use the word "extravaganza" because between the list of items from the
school that are "must haves," and the clothes needed because all of my grandchildren have grown at least 6 inches over the summer, it is quite a day!
I look forward to it all year long! :)
Both of my daughters are such amazing Mamas and hard workers, and if I can even take a bit of that stress off by helping with back to school shopping, then I am delighted to do it.
Besides, selfishly, having time with my grandchildren is
always a true delight!
So back to being in the car...
My granddaughter and I had a conversation about Joe Feryn, a family friend who has leukemia. While this sweet
granddaughter is only in 4th grade, she has insights far beyond her nine years of age.
Our conversation about Joe having leukemia centered around how people were trying to love, support and help Joe, Angie, and the boys. There have been many efforts to offer support as an amazing community of givers surround the Feryns. There is a Go Fund Me page, church volunteers doing meals, cutting grass, helping with the boys.
And there was a 5K Fundraiser race that my daughter Jessi, her husband Rog, and many others set up for the Spokane community.
Of course, there were messages on Facebook that were sent all over. Sometimes social media can distribute information in a way that person-to-person communication could never pull off.
They expected that perhaps 400 people might show up as 400
had indicated on Facebook that they would be there.
We are all in awe of how God works and how prayers get answered. We are all so grateful when "Community" gathers to help those we love.
1,000 people came to the 5K Fundraiser for Joe, Angie and the boys.
That's right...1,000 people from all over came because they love the Feryns and wanted to help.
While Joe is a cross country coach and a runner, many of the folks who turned out came to walk as far as they could just to show support and contribute to the medical costs of fighting leukemia.
1,000 helpers and supporters!! What a hope-booster and love-giver to everyone there.
So back to our conversation in the car on our way to do back-to-school shopping.
We talked about the 1,000 people who came and my granddaughter asked me why so many people showed up. She reminded me that "1000 people is a lot of people, Nana."
I agreed and tried to put what was in my heart into words.
"You know, honey, when people like Joe and his family give out love and care and support to others, then when they need help, all of those people want to show up to love and support them right back."
Then, after a pause and some thought, my sweet granddaughter said with such wisdom, "Joe and his family must have given out a lot of love to everyone."
Exactly right! Joe spreads God's love wherever he goes.
Then we talked about how God is with Joe and his family
and that we are all praying for his recovery.
Later, when I processed the day with my beloved Bert, we
talked about how in the midst of such fear and illness, God's light shines through. If we can open our eyes and see with gratitude, God's grace and love meets us in the middle of the hardest times.
In the darkest hours, God is there.
In the fear, God is there.
When you have leukemia, God is there.
When we are so scared, God is always there.
When we turn our eyes and hearts to God, His grace carries us
through the darkness into the light.
He is there, no matter what. He is there for Joe, Angie and the boys and He is there for me.
He is there for you, too.
God shows up when things are going great, and God shows up in the mess and chaos and the hardest hards.
When Joe is desperate and needs a bone marrow match, God is there.
And there is, at last, some good news for the Feryn family.
We have all been praying that Joe would find a bone marrow match and Praise God, Joe's sister, Ann, is a perfect match!!
So today, Saturday, I am reminded how "extreme kindness,"
as Angie Feryn described it in her Caring Bridges post,
can lift us up in moments of despair. Just knowing that others love us and are praying for us...well, it gives us so much hope.
Extreme kindness, God's kindness and the kindness of others, carries us when we can no longer carry ourselves.
How grateful I am for all of our dear family and friends who have loved my family and prayed for us. Your extreme kindness
reminds me that God is here, with us, no matter what.
"We are all just walking each other home." ...