Last week I got the news that my granddaughter’s husband has Leukemia. I am flat as a pancake right now. Her husband is in his late twenties, a devoted husband, dad to a 3-year-old son and seven month old daughter. He is an all around great human being, and actively follows Christ’s teachings. The good news is that he has a chronic illness that will not require kemo or a bone marrow procedure. It will take him up to two years to reach remission according to his doctors. He will be out of work for some time while being treated.
The family has a tremendous support system surrounding them. Shortly after the news went out on Face Book there were almost 100 comments for encouragement. A fund has been set up to help and in three days it had reached a good sum of money to help them.
I think there is a huge number of people who love this family,and are experiencing sadness and depression. I am lower than low because of my being Bipolar. The feeling of helplessness is driving me nuts. I asked myself how can I deal with this?
I have used writing in the past to help me connect to God and my faith. So yesterday I sat down and wrote this young man a letter and shared some things that have helped me over rough spots. I will share some of that letter with you.
I told him that I believed thoughts and self talk were very powerful. Positive ones can even help strengthen the immune system. Re-framing words sometimes help. I used the word chronic as an example. He has a chronic illness and will have to be on medication for the rest of his life according to his doctors. Chronic means usual, standard, and routine in the dictionary. Well, he has some positive “cronics” in his life. He” chronicly” loves his wife, plays and enjoys his children, gets hungry, eats, sleeps, goes to church and so on. So chronic doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Another set of power house words and concepts are present, past, and future. Living in the present is the most powerful of the three in my opinion. There he can focus on his job of getting well, following his doctors orders and having faith that God is in his corner. The only reason to look back at the past is to search for lessons you have gotten through your life experiences. When you are thinking about the future you are imagining something. Something that has not yet happened. I suggested he replace fearful thoughts of the future with images of his daughter in her wedding dress or of seeing his son’s graduation from college and to picture the celebration of his fiftieth wedding anniversary.
I talked about how keeping a journal can be a healthy outlet for thoughts and feeling, and a great place to reconnect with hope and faith. I have found handing my fears over to God when I have felt weak and unable to deal with them has been very helpful. I sent him a purple notebook and set of pens with purple ink in case he decided to journal. I chose purple because that color reminds me of God’s royalty. Purple also stands for his favorite college football team.
This young man is so cordial with others. I told him he needs to be a new kind of people pleaser. I asked him to let all of the ones in the wings step up and help and support him and his family. That will help us all feel useful and not so helpless in his family’s time of need, a gift to us.
I even suggested that if he ever experiences any awkward times of silence when friends stop by he could easily break the ice by asking how they conquered fear and challenges in their past. What a great way to pass on life’s lessons.
I realize everyone faces trials and tribulations in their life time, and getting through them makes us all stronger. Character is not made in crisis, it is revealed. The faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted. And what awaits us on the other side of fear is freedom. These are words of wisdom that I have run across lately that seem valuable now during this stressful time.
Attitude is a habit. All who are facing this journey with this family needs to count our blessings daily and help this precious family count theirs. We need to have faith that they will rise above what ever lies before them We all need to pray and have faith that God has a lot more in store for this young man. I am going to try very hard to stuff my fear and sadness into an imaginary bag and hand it over to God today, and picture my great grand-daughter in her wedding gown.