Is it just me, or is the summer flying by? I can hardly believe I’m writing to you for the AUGUST Pylon! Time…please slow down! Or, maybe it’s that I/we need to slow down?
We had surprise visitors a couple of weeks ago…my nephew, Joe, his wife, Ashley, and their two children, Owen & Myra. You may recognize Ashley’s name from our prayer list, as she’s been battling Non Hodgkins Lymphoma for six years now. Her oncologist told her almost two years ago that there was nothing more they could do…they had exhausted all the chemo treatments and nothing was working. Joe and Ashley weren’t satisfied with that information, so they began doing their own research and found a hospital in Philadelphia that offered experimental treatments to patients who qualified. Ashley qualified, and since beginning those treatments, her pet scans have been
“unremarkable.” I never dreamed that “unremarkable” would become such a beautiful word!
Owen and Myra were 4 and 2 when Ashley was diagnosed; she and Joe had just become houseparents at the Milton Hershey School for at-risk children about a year earlier. So, in addition to their own family, they are responsible for the care of twelve high school girls. Their lives are full, to put it mildly. Living/working as houseparents for
at-risk children is their calling,,,their ministry. They are living life intentionally with these precious teenage girls. Notice that I wrote “Living/working”…for their living and working are one and the same. It’s not possible to compartmentalize their living from their working, which is our goal for living our faith, isn’t it?
Since Ashley’s diagnosis, they have realized the importance of making beautiful memories together, so they have begun using their vacation time in the summers to take trips. This summer, they camped all the way from Hershey, PA to Mt. Rainier, Washington and back. When they were in Gillette, Wyoming, the transmission in their car went out, which is why we had the blessing of seeing them. They rented a car and drove to Hammond to pick up Charlie’s and Jeanie’s Pilot. They were able to return their rental and drive the Pilot home. (Charlie and Jeanie along with our sister Kitty, and her husband, Larry are on a vacation together. They drove here on July 7th, so we could take them to O’Hare on July 8th, which is why we had their car.) Because of all these little twists and turns, we were blessed to have a short visit with Joe and his beautiful family.
While we were visiting, I noticed this tattoo on Joe’s arm:
If you’ve never had music lessons, you will not understand what it is. The squiggly part is a quarter rest, which by itself means to rest for one full beat. The bullseye over it is called a fermata, which means to hold for an extended d period of time. If this is written for a solo instrument, the soloist determines the length of the rest. If this is written for an ensemble…say, an orchestra or band, the director determines the length of the rest.
I asked Joe what the significance of the tattoo is for him. His response brought me to tears. Their lives are like a roller coaster ride…many ups and downs, sudden twists and turns, jerkily inching forward to a great unknown, plummeting not knowing what awaits them, crying, laughing, waiting…always waiting for what comes next, but n
ot knowing what comes next. What they’ve learned through all of this is to rest in God’s hands. Most things that happen to them are beyond their control, and all they can do is rest and wait. They’ve co
me to understand and trust that God is the one who directs them, so no matter what happens, they trust that God is the One who is holding them through it all.
Ashley got a tattoo on the same day Joe did. Her tattoo is a group of dandelions. The significance? It reflects the title of her blog: “Daring to Hope: Finding Beauty in a Sea of Weeds.” If you’d like to read her inspirational posts about her journey with cancer, here’s the web address: choosinghope.blog.
They got their tattoos to celebrate her one-year anniversary of being in remission. The ironic part? She relapsed two months later, and since then, has relapsed three times. Their unexpected journey continues, and they’re okay because they know they are resting in the hands of the One who created them and walks with them every step of the way. Thanks be to God!
May we all learn to savor each moment of this precious life we’ve been given, resting in the assurance that God our Savior walks with us every step of the way! Hallelujah!
Living in the Grip of God’s Grace,