Sunday, January 4, 2009

Life's Harshest Curveballs

I knew something was different when we walked into church this morning. Father Kibby motioned to Dori to visit with him and an elderly couple that were sitting in isolation in unoccupied choir rows. The older gentleman, who is 74, was wearing a blue mask, just like Dori used to wear during her fight with leukemia. Dori spoke with the group for five minutes, then returned to tell me he had been battling AML and received a bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson in Houston. He looked great, six months post transplant.

After the service, Dori and I visited with the couple for 10 minutes. They were delightful. Both had lost previous spouses, and you could tell they were very much in love. They were joined at the hip. They spoke optimistically. What tremendous character, I thought. When they talked to Dori, they were radiant. Dori thoroughly enjoyed listening to them, as did I.

After church, I checked e-mails. Unfortunately, a friend notified me that some friends of ours lost their house in a fire Friday night. Nearly everything they owned is gone. Thankfully, they and their children were out of town.

I went by this afternoon to check out the damage. The only reason I didn't cry was because I know they are alive. I spoke with their parents, who were onsite. They were calm and thankful their child, his wife and their grandchildren are OK. Later, I heard my friend's mother sobbing as she walked through the burned house. Like other friends of theirs, Dori and I are talking about what we can do to help tie their family through the next few weeks.

Houses can be replaced, but people can't. That said, I'm still shocked to see such devastation. I've seen burned houses in our neighborhood, but never a friend's. So misfortune and hardship find more people - who as Dori says - seem to be doing everything right. Random? Perhaps, perhaps not. But no one is immune from misfortune, hardship or even "the abyss." It's what we do with it that makes us better and more appreciative of all the blessings that have been bestowed.

1 comment:

PJ said...

Well said, Jim. Bad stuff's out there; we have to cushion the blow for others when we can.