Sunday, September 22, 2019

Reflections from the Home Team – September 22, 2019

“One of the blessings in my life has been our family who has been such an important part of my journey.  “Pops” and I both have depended on their love and support and I’m sure I can speak for him in saying thanks to each and every one of them.  As I’ve always shared, life can toss us some curveballs and when those challenges come our way, we need to reach out to our Home Teams (both human and Divine) for the strength, 
love and support needed to meet them.”

Greetings from Cedar Falls!

Given my journey since being diagnosed with cancer, it certainly has given me an opportunity to do a lot of reflecting. A good friend sent me a quote from Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue early on in my journey that has been an inspiration for me over the years.  It reads:

May the angels in their beauty bless you.
May an angel of awakening stir your heart.
May an angel of healing turn your wounds into sources of refreshment.
May an angel of compassion open your eyes to the unseen suffering around you.
And may the angel of death arrive only when your life is complete.
And you have brought every gift to the threshold where its infinity can shine.  

I sincerely believe I have met several of those Angels in my life so far.  One of them would be my father in law, Don Braun, whom over the years we all have affectionately referred to as our “Pops”.  I have been blessed to recover from my illness, and Pops, also a cancer survivor, was one of the individuals who showed me by his daily example that life was to be lived in the present, enjoying every opportunity that may present itself as he shared his gifts of laughter, joy and ingenuity with all of us who served as part of his “Home Team” over the years.

Pops promoted a message of hope and strength for me as I watched him deal with some of the side effects of cancer; never missing a beat to continue to live life to its fullest.  Pops moved on in his journey to join God’s army of Angels this past week and I’m quite sure he is leading some lively discussions in Heaven while enjoying time in his eternal woodshop. Pops reinforced for me and for all of us in his earthly family that no matter what tomorrow brings, today is a wonderful day, and we need to keep on enjoying it...  As the angels came to lead Don to his eternal home, we can all be reminded that he lived a complete life and that he brought every gift he had to the threshold where its infinity could shine!  

One of the blessings in my life has been our family who has been such an important part of my journey.  Pops and I both have depended on their love and support and I’m sure I can speak for him in saying thanks to each and every one of them.  As I’ve always shared, life can toss us some curveballs and when those challenges come our way, we need to reach out to our Home Teams (both human and Divine) for the strength, love and support needed to meet them. As we gathered at Don’s home last evening to celebrate a life well lived, that same special family wrapped Don’s wife Lorraine (affectionately known to us as Momo) in their arms with love and support.

As summer winds down and we head into fall, a short verse shared Max Lucado, one of my favorite inspirational writers, provides a good reminder about the “Art of Living” when faced with challenging times…

You’ll get through this.
It won’t be painless.
It won’t be quick.
But God will use this mess for good.
Don’t be foolish or naïve.
But don’t despair either.
With God’s help, you’ll get through this.

You can read Don’s obituary at the link below. He truly lived a life filled with joy and adventure and had a profound and lasting impact on all of us. God has used his life for good, and with His help, we will get through this.

As I reflect on Don’s life, it also reminds me of a powerful lesson by former Major League pitcher Dave Dravecky shared in his book Do Not Lose Heart. His message provides a powerful example that illustrates our bodies as temporary tents. His piece reminds me that our focus must be on the building to come which we have with God, not the “tent” we have now. The title of the piece is, “O Mr. Tentmaker” and it has provided me a great perspective as I move forward on my journey with this disease.

Writing to the Tentmaker The Tent-Dweller writes:
O Mr. Tentmaker;

It was nice living in this tent when it was strong and secure and the sun was shining and the air warm. But Mr. Tentmaker, it’s scary now. You see, my tent is acting like it is not going to hold together; the poles seem weak and they shift with the wind. A couple of stakes have wiggled loose from the sand; and worst of all, the canvas has a rip. It no longer protects me from beating rain or stinging fly. It’s scary in here, Mr. Tentmaker.

Last week I went to the repair shop and some repairman tried to patch the rip in my canvas. It didn’t help much, though, because the patch pulled away from the edges and now the tear is worse. What troubled me most, Mr. Tentmaker, is that the repairman didn’t seem to notice I was still in the tent; he just worked on the canvas while I shivered inside. I cried out once, but no one heard me. I guess my first real question is: Why did you give me such a flimsy tent? I can see by looking around the campground that some of the tents are much stronger and more stable than mine. Why, Mr. Tentmaker, did you pick a tent of such poor quality for me? And even more important, what do you intend to do about it?

In his reply, the Tentmaker writes:
O little tent dweller, as the Creator and Provider of tents, I know all about you and your tent, and I love you both. I made a tent for myself once, and lived in it in your campground. My tent was vulnerable, too, and some vicious attackers ripped it to pieces while I was still in it…on a cross. It was a terrible experience, but you will be glad to know they couldn’t hurt me. In fact, the whole experience was a tremendous advantage because it is this very victory over my enemy that frees me to be a present help to you.

O little tent dweller, I am now prepared to come and live in your tent with you, if you’ll invite me. You’ll learn as we dwell together that real security comes from My being in your tent with you. When the storms come, you can huddle in my arms and I’ll hold you. When the canvas rips, we’ll go to the repair shop together.

Someday, little tent dweller, some day your tent is going to collapse. You see, I’ve designed it only for temporary use. But when it does you and I are going to leave together. I promise not to leave before you do. And then, free of all that would hinder or restrict, we will move to our permanent home and together, forever, we will rejoice and be glad.

When we ourselves, a friend, relative, parent or anyone very dear to us is struggling with cancer, or some other life threatening disease, sometimes we feel numbed, bereaved, disappointed, and angry as all kinds of negative sensations flood the mind. As Christians we need to remember that though we are suffering the trials of fighting such a battle, it is our earthly tents which are being impacted, and that we can look forward to forevermore living in a new building, not temporary tents anymore, but rather a new building built with hands by God. There we can live forever and neither death nor suffering will have any sway over us.

2 Corinthians 5:1; “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

May you enjoy the beauty of fall while bringing every gift God has bestowed on you to it’s threshold where its infinity can shine!  

Blessings to each of you!


Are you or someone you know fighting cancer... struggling with the physical, emotional and spiritual issues that accompany a cancer journey or other serious health issue? Making ourselves available to others can open up the doors of opportunity for deeper relationships, healing, and transformation. For many, time is one of the most valuable commodities in today's fast-paced world. Sharing time with others is a wonderful gift. It says, "Here I am. . . for you. To listen, to care, to serve." The power of presence should never be underestimated!  

Be an encourager in someone else’s life!

To learn more about being an encourager, and to view the Reflections blog, visit the Reflections from the Home Team website at: