Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, January 26, 2015


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©

Our grandson, Joe, was diagnosed with liver cancer at 15 months of age. After 3 surgeries and a year of chemo, he weighed 2 pounds less on his 2nd birthday than he did on his first. Then we were told that instead of being cured, the cancer had spread to his lungs. He would need a liver transplant and a double lung transplant. Joe said an emphatic “no” to that. He had things to learn, places to go. So the cancer just gave up and left. Today he is 16.

Our friend, Kathy, says that Joe is the most centered person she knows. She had a career as the director of a mental health clinic, so she may have a very low bar for “centered,” but it’s still a nice diagnosis for a guy who today is 16.

It’s hard now to remember that we were told that, because of all the chemo, this tall, handsome, sensitive, musical, literate, brilliant, centered young man would probably lose his hearing and never be able to jump. It would embarrass him if he knew I speak of him this way. Being centered means that he does not need attention like this. I don’t think he reads Christ In Winter, though. Why should he? Winter for him is a long way off. He is barely into spring. Today he is 16.

Being centered, Joe knows the proper thing for a 16 year old is to get his driver’s license and stop hanging around with his grandfather, except for plotting behind Grandma’s back to buy a 1955 Chrysler Windsor Newport Deluxe together. I know that because even though I was not very centered at 16, I knew the proper 16 yo life style is to run around in a car with your friends. Joe knows that, too, for today he is 16.

Not every boy or girl who says “no” to cancer gets be 16. I don’t know why some do and some don’t, since they are all loved by God. I mourn for those children who don’t, and for their parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters and all the others who share in God’s love for them. But I celebrate and affirm and give thanks for those who do. Did I mention that today Joe, our grandson, is 16?

John Robert McFarland

You can read more about Joe’s cancer and cure in the 2ne edition of NOW THAT I HAVE CANCER I AM WHOLE: Meditations on Life and Healing for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them [AndrewsMcMeel, and available in Czech and Japanese translations]

The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]

I used to keep a careful index of all the things I told in this blog so that I would not repeat. That has become unwieldy. Now I just trust to… what’s it called… oh, yes, memory. Sorry about repeats.

I have also started an author blog, about writing, in preparation for the publication, by Black Opal Books, of my novel, VETS, about four handicapped and homeless Iraqistan veterans who are accused of murdering a VA doctor, in 2015.

I tweet as yooper1721.

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