Since my brother Rick's diagnosis of a Glioblastoma Mutiforme just a few weeks ago, followed very quickly by surgery, then some time to begin recovery, yet at the same time traveling for consultations with radiologists and oncologists, we have all felt like we have been on a wild roller coaster. None of us will ever be the same. Something of this magnitude bears down on the host and all those he loves and who love him. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like for him.
Today they signed consent papers, giving Duke Medical Center the right to shoot beams of radiation into his brain. They made a mask that he will wear that will immobilize his head during treatments. They did an MRI to map out their strategy of attack. Next week they will begin a methodical attack on any hidden tumor cells that remain. Each weekday for more than six weeks he will put on the mask and place his brilliant brain into the hands of the team of doctor, nurses, technicians, and the very sophisticated machinery found at the Preston Robert Tisch Tumor Center. The Tumor Center's mantra is "There is Hope" . We are all wearing bracelets and hats and shirts bearing the name of the Tumor Center. We have formed a team for a fundraising 5K. We want to hope. We are practicing.
Today was hard for Rick. The reality of what comes next became a little clearer and a day in the cloistered Tumor Center drained him of precious energy. This part of the journey will likely lack the height and depth of these last few weeks. The crowds that met us along the road to Duke have gone back to their routines and their families. They will check in and they will bring food and they will pray when they think of Rick but they are not required to stay. And even we, his "blood kin" siblings, his children, and his adoring wife cannot go into the inner place he must go and yield with a faith that he cannot manufacture. But, we will be there and we will be the cloud of witnesses, we will stand in the gap. Rick will be surrounded.
My sister and I have been trying each day to send out a short email to family members to encourage us all to remain prayerfully focused. It was my turn today and I boldly looked at the the mystery of Hope. I had been up in the middle of the night and picked up a book left behind from one of the previous visits to my house by my brother. I read the first few chapters of The Anatomy of Hope in which the author, Jerome Groopman, Md. tells of the first years of his training as a physician when he struggled to find a way to learn from and with his patients ways to incorporate and encourage hope in the face of serious illness. Today, I wanted to share something profound with my family about Hope, but words would not come. The challenge to come to intimately know Hope is before me. I cannot say what Hope looks like or feels like or what actions will be stirred by Hope in the days and weeks and months and years to come. Surely, Hope is greater than my heart. So, I posted a few images of the word itself and added a video of Stuart Townend singing There is a Hope.
THERE IS A HOPE
by Stuart Townend and Mark Edwards
Copyright (c) 2007 Thankyou Music.
There is a hope that burns within my heart,
That gives me strength for ev'ry passing day;
a glimpse of glory now revealed in meager part,
Yet drives all doubt away:
I stand in Christ, with sins forgiv'n;
and Christ in me, the hope of heav'n!
My highest calling and my deepest joy,
to make His will my home.
There is a hope that lifts my weary head,
A consolation strong against despair,
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit,
I find the Savior there!
Through present sufferings, future's fear,
He whispers, "Courage!" in my ear.
For I am safe in everlasting arms,
And they will lead me home.
There is a hope that stands the test of time,
That lifts my eyes beyond the beckoning grave,
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine
When I behold His face!
When sufferings cease and sorrows die,
and every longing satisfied,
then joy unspeakable
will flood my soul,
For I am truly home.
We will choose to believe in Hope even though we may not feel it or see it.