Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, March 27, 2018



Our grandson was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma [liver cancer] at 15 months. He underwent a year of intense chemotherapy and several surgeries. It is not overstating to say that he died three times before he was 2 years old.

As grandparents, we had huge worries and concerns for the awful stress on our daughter and her husband, and for Joe’s four-year-old sister. We did a lot of care of Brigid during that time because Joe--and one or both of his parents with him--was in the hospital 170 miles away almost all the time.

Helen says she was never more sure of what she was to be and do than when Joe was sick. That experience, she says, gave a whole new meaning to “laying down one’s life.”

Laying down your life doesn’t mean dying necessarily, a physical death. In fact, most of the time it probably does not.

Laying down your life is similar to people laying down garments and palm leaves for Jesus on that first Palm Sunday, to honor him as the bringer of life over against the bringer of death.

Because at the same time Jesus was coming into the city through the back door, Pilate, the Roman head of the domination culture in Jerusalem, was coming in through the front door, the gate on the other side of the city, with all his pomp and power on display. For those with eyes to see, it was a stark contrast, those two entrances. One was demanding life. One was laying down life. Only one was successful.

When you lay down your life, that’s when you know who you are. That’s when life begins.


Just a reminder that I write these columns for myself. I’m glad if you get something out of them, too, but if I write with you in mind, I have to write with a lot of “yous” in mind, and it confuses me. Thank you, though, for reading.

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