Monday, October 27, 2008

Atypical Date

It was a spontaneous idea but that's what made it exciting and special. Bill had to make a trip down to Seattle and I decided I wanted to go along for the ride. We make good road trip pals and it's always good to get in some coupletime sans kids. So we pleaded with our friends to help out and, by 3:30 p.m. Bill and I were off.

We were on a mission, though. Terry, Bill’s boss, has had a relapse and now has end-stage leukemia. This also means he has to have a bone marrow transplant. At the stage he's in, the odds are not in his favor, but still, we know God can heal. At any rate, Bill was tasked with bringing fresh flowers and a care package filled with magazines, snacks, game books, and other things to help Terry, his wife and daughter, and other family caregivers pass the time more comfortably.

Terry is 55, is married to Beverly and has four grown children. He has been Bill’s immediate supervisor for about two years now, but he has worked with him teaching CPR for more than five. In fact, most of the material Bill presents in his classes he stole from Terry. I got my CPR card from Terry five years ago this fall. We have enjoyed many family meals or holiday meals at the office with Terry and other coworkers. We even spent Easter Sunday at his church this year with his family.

Bill and I arrived at the U of W Medical Center, where Terry's being treated via IV chemotherapy. It was Terry's daughter who greeted us and I hugged her gently. She is young, perhaps 20 or 21, and looks a lot like her dad. She informed us that Terry was a little feistier than usual, which makes him more aware of his pain, and might be testy and snappy with us. That would be his signal that he was done with the visit. Soon afterward Beverly, his wife came into the room, whom I hugged as well. It was my hope that my presence, another woman, would comfort them and help these brave ladies feel more at ease. I think it had the desired effect as they conversed freely with us.

He's in a lot of pain, deep in the large bones of the body, where the cancer cells are multiplying. It is amazing how rapidly this is happening. Just a month ago we were celebrating his remission. Terry does know the Lord, which is good. We just continue to trust Him for his healing, but if that's not what God will give, then we pray for comfort and courage for Terry and his family. Beverly handed us a written log of people's visits, a small beautifully designed booklet with the word Believe on the cover. Bill wrote first then I wrote of how blessed I have been that Terry has shared an office with Bill and, in made ways, has had his back. I wanted to be personal and I hope it has meaning for them.

After spending more time at the hospital than we expected, which was good, we made our way home. We talked about our lives, mostly about Terry and his disease, but also about what we believe God has called us to. It has fallen to us quite often to minister to people in these kinds of dark and uncertain moments of their life. We stopped at a Subway for a hot sandwich, chips, cookies and soda. As we continued on home Bill asked me how I liked our ministry date. And, honestly, I would rather do this than see a movie or go out to dinner. Those things have their place, I am sure, but this is when Bill and I see each other's best selves, when we are about the Lord's business, and serving together.


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