one of my favorite days of the week – right behind Sunday. Can I just say – God is good and my heart is full.
Two big stories to share today:
A few months back I met a lady whose granddaughter was recently diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome. We were connected through a nurse at Rocky Mountain Heart & Lung (where I see a cardiologist and pulmonologist). Since I am at RMHL at least twice a month – usually more, I have gotten to know most all the staff. It’s been a fun experience as most of the staff is fun, energetic and encouraging. So, nurse Lynn called me to see if I would be interested in meeting with Judy – the grandmother. On the phone, Lynn said that instantly she thought I would be a good resource for Judy. Lynn said I had a sweet, upbeat personality especially in light of my diagnosis (her words, not mine).
In the past (when I was a kid), I have always been (adamantly) opposed to meeting others with Marfan’s. It usually wasn’t a choice either. For me, it was challenging to meet others with the same “disease” because – in my mind – I was only “sick” when I was at the University of Minnesota once or twice a year for check-ups. When I was at home in ND, I was treated like every other kid. So, it was difficult for me to be reminded of the harsh realities of my health by meeting others inflicted with Marfan Syndrome. Also, I was raised in a Christian home, knowing that above all, we trusted in Jesus and had faith and hope through Him. Over the years, I have found several different support groups for people with Marfan’s and found the people in them to be depressed and angry. Don’t get me wrong – I have my moments and even days, but I don’t find Marfan’s to be that horrible. It isn’t a curse. I choose to believe that God created me this way.
Anyway, Lynn (nurse) asked if I would be willing to meet with Judy and share my experience with Marfan’s with her. As I said, yes – doubts were racing through my mind. This would be the first meeting that I chose. As I began to shake off the uncertainty, I began to see this as an opportunity. Could God be using my journey to help someone else? I sure hope so – none of His work is in vain.
Judy and I met on a Thursday at RMHL in a huge meeting room. I was nervous. I did not want to say anything that would scare or discourage her. My case is severe and uncommon. Most people with Marfan’s do not have the extensive symptoms that I do. We began to visit and I told Judy a little bit about how/when I was diagnosed, surgeries, complications, etc. I am not even sure how long we chatted on that November day of 2008, but instantly we had a connection. Before we parted ways that day, we exchanged info. As we did this I knew in my heart I needed (was prompted) to tell Judy that everything would be okay, that there was HOPE for her granddaughter and that she would live a happy and full life – I certainly have experienced all of those things. She got tears in her eyes and gave me a huge hug and told me how much she had needed to hear those things. It was such a divine moment – leave it to God!
That day we realized that we had more than just a Marfan Syndrome connection. One of Judy’s sons was actually born in Williston and then later graduated high school from Flathead – the same year one of my cousins did. Unknowingly – we were born at the same hospital and I was at his graduation. Kind of neat things – certainly not by chance. There’s a plan there.
All of that to say . . .
that after months of trying to schedule a dinner date with Judy and her husband, Bob – tonight was the night! We were finally able to get together at their home for a fun filled dinner.
Again, today I struggled with the nervousness to say the right things, give them hope and not scare them! I though our meeting was going to be about Marfan’s, but it was SO much more – which leads me to: “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:19-21 NLT
I had a few expectations for tonight – I guess I came with an agenda, but God showed up with HIS agenda and mine was torn in pieces (Praise God for that!). His plan was SO much cooler than mine.
Bob and Judy have really cool personalities – and Jesus? is everywhere in their lives and conversation – which is way cool! We laughed, teased, encouraged, joked, laughed, etc – it was good. After a long desert – relationally – my mom said it best, “they are like a breath of fresh air.” They don’t just want us in their lives for the Marfan’s info, but genuinely are interested being our friends! Fellowship – I have ached, yearned and been hungry for it. I now know that this night had very little to do with Marfan’s, but much more to be encouraged and uplifted. Both were a success. I also feel that God has more of a plan and future and tonight was just a start. I am not exactly sure what that means, but I’m willing to wait it out. The header says it best, “The best is yet to come.”
One prayer request from the night: My mom and I would love to meet the rest of their family (especially the granddaughter with Marfan’s). Judy and Bob want us to meet everyone, but I get the impression that their daughter-in-law is not interested in meeting me. She has the attitude of ignoring the problem because it’s not an issue at the moment. It’s kind of an odd form of rejection, yet I understand it. I guess the d.i.l. just needs prayer for accepting her daughter’s diagnosis and in learning how to deal with it. I think my mom could be a great help for her in that department.
Oh, I almost forgot – my other very important Thursday activity for the past 15 years: ER. With three episodes left, tears well up in my eyes and my stomach flip flops (oh, I can’t wait for nicer weather!). ER is less of a show and much more of a tradition in our family. I’ll share more about that later, but I have to say – it was great to see some of the best er doc’s back together tonight. Carol Hathoway and Doug Ross couldn’t be a more attractive couple, could they?