The Lifters

23 05 2018


A number of years ago, well before my first brain tumor diagnosis my pastor at the time, Kevin Seymour, preached a sermon on the Leaners and the Lifters.  In relationships, some people are Leaners; they always need to be on the receiving end of the relational exchange.  We’ve all got some of those in our life.  But there are some others who are the Lifters.  When they are walking alongside you they make whatever load you’re carrying a little lighter.  You never actually ask them to be a Lifter, they just do it.  

One of the harder parts of living with a brain tumor, for me anyway, has been the recognition that I am a Leaner more often now – it bugs me; probably always will, but wow, am I grateful for all the Lifters that bless my life.  Kim is one of my Lifters.  She’s been doing my hair (along with the rest of my family’s) for a lot of years now.  Before I walk into her shop, she has already dimmed the lights.  I’ve never asked her to, she just somehow knew to do it when my recurrence decided to get snarky. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing that cutting and coloring hair in the dark isn’t taught anywhere. She has a bottle of water for whenever I’ve forgotten to bring mine and I need to take some meds.  She stays booked full for weeks out, but is endlessly gracious if I’m too sick to drive and cancel on her.  If I’m not able to lean back into the wash sink she’ll do a dry and dirty haircut; I’m thinking that must cause some kind of internal heebie-jeebie response for her, but she acts like it’s no big deal.  She somehow knows if it needs to be a chatty or a quiet day.  There is really no way to quantify how much a Lifter helps a rough day – in the big things and the countless little adjustments and accomodations they quietly extend to make a day easier, but it does help so very much.

For all of you who are Lifters; thank you.  For everything you do and don’t do; say and don’t say, I am grateful.

With A Little Help From My Friends

8 05 2018


Friends – the ones who are more concerned for you than annoyed with you for cancelling plans, again, because you’re just too sick today. The ones who offer to pick you up and drop you off so you don’t have to drive, because they know driving is hard for you. The ones who suggest a spot in the shade instead of the sun, even though they love the sun, because they know bright light hurts you. The ones who see your fear, discouragement, and uncertainty and simply help you carry it, not wave it around for the rest of the world to view. If you find yourself, on some future day, the reluctant owner of a brain tumor, more than doctors, medicines, therapies, or treatments you are going to want to have this kind of friend beside you on the journey.

Blessed – Advent & Christmas Photos (2015#27)

26 12 2015

Although gift giving and receiving is not what defines Christmas Day, for most of us it is certainly part our our celebration tradition. There are some things that we wanted, hinted for, or in some cases bought for ourselves and told our spouse what “they” had gotten us:-). It’s fantastic to get something you wanted and needed, but if we’re honest, there is something extra special when we’re surprised by a gift – when receive something that we hadn’t even known to ask for, but after receiving it, we can’t imagine doing without it. Friendships are often that kind of gift. We find ourself sharing a particular place and time with someone, and as our life paths overlap, we begin to discover a relationship that we hadn’t realized our life was missing.  

The word blessed means divinely or supremely favored, and that absolutely describes my life. But of all the blessings that God pours into my life, friendships are the one gift that continually surprise me. See, I know me. I know that I’m an odd duck. I know I can make it challenging to remain connected, and yet there are some people in my life who choose to remain there, just because they want to. They don’t have to, they have no family responsibility to meet, but they choose to be my friend. Across time, with varying degrees of connection, but always there. I’m still surprised by it, and I’m ever aware that I am indeed blessed! When we participated in the relocation of Highpoint Nazarene Church to its current Pollock Road location back in the 90’s, of all the things I was asking God for, a friendship with a newly relocated from California, recently retired couple never once crossed my mind, let alone made it onto my list of petitions. Now, in 2015, looking back on a business partnership, purchasing our home from them, countless meals, years of science experiments between Jylian and Mr. Hendershot, I cannot imagine not counting them among my friends. One of those surprises that God has gifted to me.

It’s impossible to photograph all of the relationships that equal blessing to me, so I’ll just allow this one, taken following our early morning Christmas carols to our friends and neighbors, Bill and Bobbi,  to represent all of those unexpected surprise gifts of relationships. Friendships that give me the encouragement, laughter, accountability, and comfort to keep pressing forward. Relationships that reflect the companionship that Jesus modeled for us, in His life here on earth. I hope you have opportunity to enjoy friends during this Christmas season, and that you keep your heart always open to the surprise gifts that our Father knows we need. I pray that you too are blessed with true friends.