Saturday, December 2, 2017

Reflections from the Home Team 
December 2, 2017

“As I witnessed that interaction in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics waiting room… peace, joy, confidence, hope, faith and love all erupted at once in my heart! That experience illustrated through an ‘interruption’ what I feel we all seek in times of difficulty and challenge… a loving presence.”

Greetings from Cedar Falls to my HOME TEAM,

December it seems is always a month of medical follow-ups for me… I’ve just returned from an appointment in Iowa City this past week to follow up on some post treatment side effects. I have been battling upper respiratory challenges as well as some throat and swallowing issues. Seems the radiation and chemo treatments are a gift that just “keep on giving”. I need to be mindful of those issues given my compromised immune system issues since treatments.  I have scheduled a procedure in Iowa City later in December to address those concerns and will also do my regular labs at that time to monitor whether the “visiting team” has any inclinations of coming back to compete in extra innings at that time.

These ongoing checks are important, and provide me with what I refer to as “momentary interruptions” in my daily life. Easy as it may be to allow these interruptions to cloud my thankfulness for the gift of life, I need to remind myself to let them go.  I’m not talking about just the physical things... I’m also including the emotional baggage that can come with those interruptions. I can tell when it’s time to let something go, that being when it begins to feel heavy…  Whether that be frustration with a health issue, a work issue or any other any other challenge that may come my way, it feels good to let them go so that I can create space in my life for new things to come in.  As author Bryant McGill writes in his book “Simple Reminders”

“It's not wrong to be upset. It's not wrong to cry. It's not wrong to want attention. It's not even wrong to scream or throw a fit. What is wrong is to keep it all inside. What is wrong is to blame and punish yourself for simply being human. What is wrong is to never be heard and to be alone in your pain. Share it. Let it out. Abundance becomes the process of letting go as that which is empty can receive.”

I witnessed an example of that in Iowa City this past week as I was sitting in the U of I Hospitals waiting room for some tests. A gentleman, about my age, was sitting with his children and one of his grandchildren. He was really struggling with his emotions as he was discussing and trying to explain how he felt about his recent cancer diagnosis with his family who was there with him. As he began to tear up, his granddaughter, about seven years old I’d guess, crawled up into his lap to comfort him. At first, he seemed annoyed by the “interruption” as he shared his thoughts with family… As she sat in his lap, I couldn’t help but notice several bruises, scratches and the matted Band-Aid on one of her arms… all of which it seems are often a part of a healthy seven year olds life. As the granddaughter settled in and snuggled with her ‘Pops’, that “interruption” became an illustration of the love, care and affection she had for her grandpa. In turn, her grandpa gave her a hug, acknowledged that they were both a bit bruised and broken and that they could ‘snuggle’ together to help comfort and heal each other.

As I witnessed that interaction in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics waiting room… peace, joy, confidence, hope, faith and love all erupted at once in my heart! That experience illustrated through an ‘interruption’ what I feel we all seek in times of difficulty and challenge… a loving presence.

Our lives are full of interruptions…traffic, a sick child, a long line, a needy neighbor, a complaining customer, a co-worker in crisis, illness and death. These all look, sound and feel like interruptions. However, each of us has the ability to look beyond life’s interruptions and instead see illustrations of God’s love as well as the love of others in our lives.

Interruptions can be appointments for compassion as life at times may feel unfair, but in our everyday routines, we need to recognize that interruptions represent people to love and also create opportunities for us to be loved! We each need to allow those interruptions to slow us down a bit, so we can better focus on receiving and giving love both from God as well as the others in our lives.

Just as the young seven year old settled into her grandpa’s lap in Iowa City, we can lean into God’s lap and learn of His love for the person or challenge that may have interrupted our life. By settling into the lap of our Lord, as well as those on our personal “Home Teams” who care about us, we can rest securely in their comfort and compassion.

As we deal with the frustrations in explaining how we feel about the challenges our life journey can present us, John 13:7 provides me with some guidance… “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” As we learn to live in this world, He is with us. As we walk down dark paths, He is with us. As we face grief, disappointments, addictions, illnesses, and the unfairness of life, He is with us… for eternity.

May each of your life’s journeys be filled with such a “loving presence” as you navigate the challenges each day presents in our lives and may your eyes be open to see the illustrations of love in the interruptions in our lives…

Blessings to all and wishing you a wonderful Christmas season! Special thanks to all for being such a “loving presence” on my Home Team!

Are you or someone you know fighting cancer... struggling with the physical, emotional and spiritual issues that accompany a cancer journey? If so, Reflections from the Home Team... Go the Distance was written to offer strength, hope and comfort when confronted with a cancer journey's challenges. Share a message of positivity with those you care about. Learn more about the book at this link: