Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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I am going to be honest, I am at a loss of words. I don’t really know how to speak them, so I am going to try my best to write them. And again, I said I am going to try my best.
I found out very recently that a very near and dear to my heart friend… that her precious, full of life and love and joy, 10 month old daughter has leukemia. Yes, you read that correctly.
And my heart just hurts. Yet, I cannot even begin to fathom what my dear friend Lauren and her husband Andrew are feeling. And it all just hurts.
You can feel like you finally hit your groove, and in a season of racing to try and get all things done before the new school year, this afternoon I felt good, great even.
And then I checked my e-mail and saw this news. News that shattered my heart. My heart hurts because people who I love dearly, a friend who is consistent and whole with a heart for teaching and writing and running (a heart so similarly aligned with mine) is broken. And for that reason my heart hurts. On a day where she should be beginning her new school year, she spends in the hospital with her daughter as she begins chemo. Her ten-month old daughter.
Cancer is not unknown to me. My dad was diagnosed with cancer the day after I was born. Thankfully, after surgery and rounds of radiation, he was cancer-free. Free to live a life continually as my hero and first man to steal my heart. Then, in high school, I lost a close teammate to a rare form of cancer. One season we were standing on the podium at state together, a podium that Lauren and I were both standing on…and a short year and a half later, the same girls who stood the podium celebrating a podium finish at the state cross country meet, sat together, broken in a pew at a church, saying goodbye to our teammate, our friend.
A few years later, college gave me one of the most real and joyous friendships that I have ever experienced. And cancer took that one away too. Not without a hell of a fight by one of the bravest, strongest fighters I will ever know.
My grandmother has been battling ovarian cancer for the last ten years. And I have seen family friends, coworkers, loved ones of all the people that I love fight to this terrible, terrible thing.
So the reality of cancer is not new to me. But today. Today I was hit hard. And I don’t want this post to be about me. This is not what is about. But today, in the midst of it all, I was hit hard, deep in the core. And so many people everywhere are dealing with pain, struggling with loss, facing scary diagnoses and it can be so unfair. We have other friends who recently received devastating news about their expecting baby girl, and others who are battling the journey of infertility. And then there are all the unspoken battles. The ones we may never even hear about because it hurts too much to share.
We can be so quick to get lost in the stresses of work, every day life, relationships, and a whole bunch of little things. But the reality is, the stress of those little things… they DO NOT matter! Because whenever the day comes (because it will.. this earth has proven time after time that pain and death and chaos will come.. because remember this is not our home, this is not our end destination) but whenever that time comes, I am certain that we all in a heartbeat would ask for the chaos back, we would ask for the stressful to-do list, we would ask for the stupid argument over something so insignificant.
When the dam breaks, when the levy falls, all we are going to want is the normal to return, the normal that so many of us struggle to abide in. How selfish I can be, how ungracious my heart can rest. I don’t want to wait for that moment to come, I want to live free of that stress now.
A post I saw shared on social media earlier today struck a cord. It was a post mentioning how we are quick to be more patient while driving when we see a sign distinguishing a new driver. But what if we all had that sign when we are dealing with stuff. Whether that sign says “A relative just died,” or “Someone I love was just diagnosed with cancer” or “A relationship that means so much is falling apart” whatever is going on in our lives, if we just had it posted like the student driver bumper sticker ~ can you imagine the patience we would have for that person. Can you imagine the grace we would extend to their lives. The freedom we would so freely give.
What if we all were just able to treat each person, each interaction…. whether that is the car that just cut you off on the road, or the person who bumped your shopping cart at the grocery store or the troll that stalks your media page or the coworker that drives you nuts or the old acquaintance who gets on your nerves… whoever that person is for you in your life… but what if we could extend everyone just a little grace. Maybe give a smile, or a compliment.
Because this life is short and it can be full of hard and pain and difficulty. But it also can be full of strength and love and kindness. And if we can do our own little part each and every day to try to love a little more, speak more truth and more love, not hate. Maybe just maybe we can create a place where we won’t even have to consider what kind of day someone is having to determine the character of our actions, but we can just freely give and freely love. Gracefully and freely.
And for those who are following along, if you could please pray for sweet Hattie and my friend Lauren and for healing over Hattie’s precious body. For her blood and her cells to be cancer-free in the name of Jesus. For strength and courage to Lauren and Andrew and for them to feel the Father’s love and comfort overflowing and covering them completely.
For those feeling led to help support them financially in this nightmare, a link to their Fundly page can be found here.
And to Lauren, if you happen to see this, I love you dearly. You amaze me each and every day by your ability and tenacity to live life unapologetic-ally. To be so certain and confident in truth and in love and for your unwavering strength and talent in being able to use your words to encourage hearts everywhere. I love you and your precious Hattie!