Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Who Your Friends Are..and Aren't

I'm not the most eloquent speaker or writer, consequently I rarely know how to word things so as not to offend people. Oddly enough, my sugarcoating abilities are worse in my writing than in conversation. Perhaps because in conversation I have to look people in the eyes and see their reaction, or listen to the offense or hurt in their voice, so I muster more compassion. I say this because I realize that what I'm about to write will likely make it obvious for some readers which category they fall into.

When I had my beautiful baby boy, Joe's and my life suddenly became no longer about us, but about this sweet, innocent child God had placed in our care. We saw a total outpouring of love and support from practically everyone we knew, not just for Joe and I, but, of course, for this new member of our family. People were coming by to visit, to give calls of support for no other reason than to let us know they were praying for us. I was, and still am, so incredibly grateful for everything that was done for us in those early weeks and months of our lives as new parents. At that time, I believed that I had discovered who our true friends were. The thing is, in times of great joy, everyone steps up their game and is excited to share in that joy.

Three months and eleven days ago, we were taken out of our own little world and placed inside the cancer cage. That Thursday night I sat by my mother's side in an emergency room, watching her go through agonizing pain and listening to doctors respond to every symptom we reported with, "Yes, that too would further lead us to believe that the masses found on the CAT scans are cancerous tumors." As I sat in shock, thinking this was all too surreal my husband tapped out a heartfelt post on this very blog giving a praise to God for an answered prayer, and also begging for the prayers of others for my mother and the battle she and we were going to be facing. For the next week, I commuted back and forth from the hospital and spent every waking minute at home on the phone talking to concerned friends and family who wanted updates on my mother's condition. Six days after the longest night of my life, we received the news that my mother had metastatic pancreatic cancer and there was nothing that could be done to cure her, and to top it off, her pain would become increasingly worse. The next day she came home to live with us.

When the fog started to dissipate, the shock wore off, and the world kept on spinning for everyone else but us, slowly but surely, I started to realize that my list of people who were true friends was way off. People I would have expected to demonstrate the same outpouring of love we received in our time of joy... some of them have come through, and others just never emerged from the mist. People I had limited contact with, and in many cases, no relationship with, came out of the woodwork and have been such an amazing source of strength. Others, some friends and some family haven't so much as called to ask how things are going or offer a word of encouragement. So many brothers and sisters in Christ rejoiced with us when mom accepted Christ as her savior. At the same time, nearly all have missed such an amazing opportunity to show Christ's love to a new Christian in an incredibly vulnerable, scary position. The hardest part has been realizing that people who I thought would be there to show their love to my mother, aren't.

I get it. It's not that anyone doesn't care. Perhaps in many cases it's because they care too much or, even more likely, just don't know what to say or how to act.

Finding out who your friends are or aren't can be saddening, but at the same time, what a joy it is to receive that hug or thoughtful note from someone you wouldn't have expected to reach out to you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Help my sis-in-law win a Wii

My five year old nephew took the picture below. Didn't he do a great job? Tonya entered it into an online contest themed "the kid in you".

Click Here to vote for "A Day in the Life of a Mama."