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Year Two, Day 310: The Right Side

I woke up smiling this morning.

I felt hope.

In the morning!

This is huge!

I made two changes in my routine last night:

  1. I read in bed rather than watching T.V.
  2. I kept my radio on all night tuned to K-Love.
I am reading The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield.  Mesmerizing is the word that comes to mind.

I so needed to get lost in a good novel. It has been a long time.

Today my fruit of the spirit was "patience".  I picked out a book from my storage facility today.  Out of Solitude, by Henri Nouwen.  He says:

"The mother of expectation is patience...Without patience our expectation degenerates into wishful thinking. Patience comes from the word "patior" which means 'to suffer'. The first thing the Jesus promises is suffering: 'I tell you, you will be weeping and wailing...and you will be sorrowful.' But he calls these pains birth pains. And so, what seems a hindrance becomes a way; what seems an obstacle becomes a door; what seems a misfit becomes a cornerstone. Jesus changes our history from a random series of sad incidents and accidents into a constant opportunity for a change of heart. To wait patiently therefore means to allow our weeping and wailing to become the purifying preparation by which we are made ready to receive the joy which is promised to us."

This is all very relevant. Because today, at breakfast, my mother told me my father has cancer.  My father is 77 years old. A year and a half ago he suffered a stroke. During his recovery, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. My mother, a retired registered nurse has taken over his care like a boss!  

And he has thrived. My father, you see, was not kind to my brother and I when we were growing up. He was not kind to my mother either. But we have learned a lot about compassion and forgiveness throughout his illness.

But the word cancer floored me.  She told me it was a slow progressing cancer. But the doctor said at his age and rather vulnerable health condition, she was recommending no treatment. No chemo. No radiation.  

He could live 5 to 10 more years. But they would be monitoring him.

My mother and I talked.  We agreed that treatment would be worse than the cancer.  He had a long healthy life before the last two years. We did not mention his abusive nature. We have moved past that.

When my daughter joined us a few minutes later, we didn't bring it up right away.  First we all cried tears of joy as we heard her baby's heartbeat on her phone app.  It was truly a miracle.

It didn't seem right to bring up my father's condition with so much happiness.

But a few minutes later, my mother looked at me knowingly. My daughter looked up. She knew something was going on.

"What?" she asked, looking from my mother to I.

"Grandpa has cancer", my mom said, and then started to cry. My daughter, full of compassion, got up from the table and went over to her grandmother and put her arms around her while she cried. I cried then too.

My mother said, "I don't know why I'm crying! I'm really ok. Grandpa may still have many good years ahead!"

But as my daughter got up to head to the restroom, I said, "It is because she is so sweet. Such a good heart."

We both smiled.  

My one hope is that my father will live long enough to see his new great grandchild.  And to make peace with his life. And to know he has been forgiven.

Before we finished breakfast my mother told us about a poem she had found that my father had written recently. It was so touching. I asked her to write it down for me. With his permission, I will share it here.

After breakfast, I taught piano all day.  But the tears were behind my eyes, threatening to spill over. Thankfully, I had a short day. And going to public storage, to sort through my books, music and old photos seemed like the perfect ending for this day.

A day, where I finally got out of bed on the right side. A day when I heard the heartbeat of a new life, and was confronted with the end of another life.  A life that I tried to run from most of my life. A life that I finally made peace with.  The life of a man I finally forgave. The man I call my father.

Patience is indeed painful. But oh so liberating, when forgiveness waits on the other side.

Happy Saturday.

Talk to you tomorrow.

I am going to bed with my book again. And K-Love.



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