(Edit: This post was first written mid-June, the day after I got back from studying abroad.
I couldn’t bring myself to finish writing and publish it until now.
It’s no longer two weeks, but two months.)
In the last two weeks a great shock has hit my family. And I wasn’t here for the first week of it, but as I come back in the middle of, well, of the beginning, it hit me hard seeing how these people I love so much are stepping up and serving one another.
Let me explain. My sister-in-law was recently diagnosed with cancer. Again. Ten years after her first diagnosis, and eight years after being declared cancer-free.
Now, the cancer has come back with a vengeance. I was away at the time of the test, of the diagnosis, and of the realization that it was already at stage 4. I came back the day after she was admitted into the hospital, to immediately start the urgently-needed chemotherapy.
And I came back, not to the first shock of the diagnosis. Not to the heart-wrenching feeling of helplessness that comes when a loved one has cancer. Not even to the tears and pain that followed the test that showed them it was already stage 4.
Instead, I came back to see the family buckling down and doing whatever they could to help lighten their load, so that they could simply focus on healing. I came back to see my parents in their roles as grandparents, taking care of my nieces while their Mama and Papa were in the hospital. I saw my siblings setting up a GoFundMe and a MealTrain.
Everyone was sending out calls for prayers, help, and support, asking friends to lift this wonderful family up in thoughts and prayers every day. I saw my own grandparents filling their freezer with meals as they stayed night after night in the hospital. I saw my aunt sending thank-you notes to those who donated, posting prayer reminders daily, offering to deliver meals and coming up with fundraisers. In fact, I saw friends and families from all over our country and beyond donating money, signing up to bring them meals, asking what they could do, and, most of all, praying. I saw this amazing support group come together to lift this wonderful family up to our Heavenly Father.
And it made me cry. I had already broken down when I heard the news and wasn’t there for my family, crying in the middle of Italy because I wanted to be at home to help, to do something. . . even though I knew there wasn’t much that I actually could do.
And they had all felt the same way. Grief. Numbness. The shock of a sudden and terrible diagnosis. But by the time that I came back, I had thought of things that I might be able to do, anything to keep busy and feel useful. . .
And my family had already taken up their self-assigned jobs.
They day I got home, my nieces were still at my parents’ home, right in the middle of their stay, while Mama was in the hospital. And I looked around, I just felt so blessed. Because although there was still this feeling of grief and shock, my parents had laid aside their own feelings to make sure these precious girls were alright. To help their parents as much as they could, and in any way possible.
“This,” I thought, “this is servitude. This is what Christians are supposed to be.”
This is servitude.
One of the reasons that this young family is so beloved is because they act in exactly the same way. They are the first to bring a meal, or help out where they can. So now that they need help, everyone whose lives have been impacted by them has stepped up to do what they can!
They show the love of Christ through their lives, becoming servants to others around them. And now, their support group is growing wider and wider, as people spread the word, wait for updates, and continue to pray.
We are called to be servants unto one another.
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” — Mark 10: 43-45
And when we follow this path, I believe that this attitude is often shown best of all when a whole community comes together, although they may be strangers, from different churches, countries, and backgrounds, they all join lift another in prayer, and to take care of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” — Galatians 6:2
“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” — Galatians 6:9-10
I ask you to pray with us, as they begin the stem cell transplant process this week. And if you wish, consider giving to their GoFundMe, to help them not to worry about their finances or treatments through this time. If you would like to stay updated, you can follow Sonia’s Cancer Updates page on Facebook. Thank you all!