I can’t take credit for the inspiration behind this post but I have to share because it’s full of goodness, sweetness, and a gentle reminder for all of us.

Some of you know that a dear friend of mine found out he has throat cancer and within a week of the diagnosis underwent two major surgeries to insert a feeding tube and remove tumors and lymph nodes. He also had a trachea placed at the base of his neck.

Even though Brandon is fighting against the Big Bad C, his faith and sense of humor have not lost their intensity. I am so blessed by Brandon and his wife, Celeste, and their two teenage daughters, Kirsten and Britton. I don’t consider them friends because they are family – plain and simple.

It had been a few days since I had seen them all, so I took Kamden for a quick visit Friday afternoon. Little did I know that Brandon was expecting Mini Man and had a project planned for him. Brandon is an avid woodworker and leather craftsman, there’s nothing the man can’t or won’t do. With lollipop in hand (Brandon’s gift during a visit last week), Kamden climbed on top of a stool and watched with enthusiasm every move Brandon made. He also kept an eye on the two dogs, Dot and Daisy.

Kamden has seen Brandon several times since he got home from the hospital and not once has he reacted, or even noticed the swelling, bruises, or staples. Kamden doesn’t care that Brandon has a trachea or the dining room table has been converted to a juicing bar with baskets of fresh produce and protein powders. Celeste said it perfectly in a recent post on CaringBridge – Kamden’s lack of reaction to Brandon’s new hardware is kind of the way God sees us – perfect, bright-eyed and full of love. 

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I’ve been reading and studying books in the Apocrypha lately and, thus far, Sirach has been the most fascinating. The Book of the All-Virtuous Wisdom of Joshua ben Sira, commonly called The Wisdom of Sirach or simply Sirach, and also known as the Book of Ecclesiasticus (not to be confused with Ecclesiastes!) is full of ethical teachings. Though it is not recognized as a canonized part of the Old or New Testaments, it is highly recommended for life instructions, reading, devotion, and prayer. The teachings address parent/child and husband/wife relationships, genuine friendships, politeness, duties towards self and others, and, above all, obedience to God. With Brandon in mind, Chapter 38 (concerning physicians and health) really hit home:

Honor physicians for their services, for the Lord created them; for their gift of healing comes from the Most High, and they are rewarded by the king. The skill of physicians makes them distinguished, and in the presence of the great they are admired. The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and the sensible will not despise them. Was not water made sweet with a tree in order that its power might be known? And he gave skill to human beings that he might be glorified in his marvelous works. By them the physician heals and takes away pain; the pharmacist makes a mixture from them. God’s works will never be finished; and from him health spreads all over the earth.

My child, when you are ill, do not delay, but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you. Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly, and cleanse your heart from all sin. Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice, and a memorial portion of choice flour, and pour oil on your offering, as much as you can afford. Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him; do not let him leave you, for you need him. There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians, for they too pray to the Lord that he grant them success in diagnosis and in healing, for the sake of preserving life. He who sins against his Maker, will be defiant toward the physician.

Whether or not you attended a worship service today, this will preach!

Thank God for friends who are family. Thank God for skillful physicians and nurses. Thank God for toddlers who care about lollipops and puppy dogs instead of tracheas. And thank God for the faithful who, despite their circumstances or cancer diagnosis, will not be moved from The Rock that is higher.

Finally, I encourage you to follow Brandon’s journey via CaringBridge by clicking here.