Friday January 29, 2010, was a day different from most. We were coming home from a week of feasting on the Word of God! I collected my thoughts as we exited the Double K Ranch. Bekah had begun our taxes earlier in the week and it looked as though we were receiving a substantial refund. Unbelievable considering we paid no federal taxes last year! As we began the journey home, I thought, "It is just another reason to praise God for children! Without them, we could not take advantage of the 'child tax credit'!"
God had blessed us with three wonderful children and we were praying for a second son to keep our family symmetrically gendered. As I floored the pedal, causing the luggage-laden minibus to inch closer to the speed limit, my cell phone rang. Glancing at the phone, I wondered why God would have my wife calling from her mom's cell phone just as I was entering the interstate. Needless-to-say, I don't believe in coincidence.
"Hello, this is Curtis," I boomed after answering the call. Expecting to hear Bekah's voice, I thought about her normal frustration with wireless headsets and freeway driving. "Hi Curtis," exclaimed my mother-in-law. "Why is she calling me," I thought. She is faithful to call on my birthday and anniversary, but rarely am I graced with this blessing the rest of the year. "I wanted to update you on Randy," she followed.
An update on Randy. "Today is the day" I said to myself, remembering that his PETSCAN results were to be unveiled today. It was about time too. It had been six months since I had heard the news of Randy's throat cancer. And ten months since he had lost his job. Perhaps it was not the ideal scenario for fighting cancer - laid off after almost a decade of faithful service. Then again, is there an ideal scenario?
I thought of the battle one young man in our church waged against tongue cancer, eventually meeting his Maker in an unimaginable way. By the grace of God Randy's cancer was not as belligerent as Andrew's. Randy had been told there was an eighty percent chance this (radiation therapy and chemotherapy) would be the only treatment he would need! Little did we know what lie ahead.
The seven weeks of treatment began with much confidence and enthusiasm, thinking Randy would be the anomaly frequently heard of and more often hoped for when facing such a devastating illness. The seven weeks ended with an eye-opening awkwardness as the man we all love lived like a zombi. The treatments came and went, as did most of the symptoms. Even on this beautiful Friday morning, Randy could taste a few things, though his saliva glands seemed to be more of a leaky garden hose than a fire hydrant.
I chuckled as I recalled our latest family day. After visiting all of our furry friends at the Woodland Park Zoo, the day rose to crescendo at our rib house of choice! Forgetting what a chore it would be to eat meat with no saliva, we dragged the entire family to Famous Dave's Barbecue.
There are some moments in life when a person's selfishness is manifest before their eyes. It was one of those moments for me. I cannot explain the shame I felt (I suggested we go to Famous Dave's) as I watched Randy try to polish off his half of the ribs, brisket, and chicken. He looked like a baby bird in its nest, scarfing down whatever its mother was shoving down its throat. The water glass was his best friend. Eventually, the waitress just brought a pitcher. I don't think I have ever seen him so determined to succeed!
And succeed he did! His strength was returning. The taste buds were responding, though not as accurately as the pretreatment days. While his retarded saliva production turned fudge into paste, a few extra cups of water with each meal made eating manageable. God had brought him through! We were thankful!
"Randy is cancer-free," Debbie exclaimed! "the PETSCAN shows no cancer in his body!" His exuberant bride glowed even over my cell phone! I thanked God. He did not have to give Randy more life. He did not have to give my wife more time with her dad. He did not have to give my children more time with Papa. This day was a Day of Grace!
The day was not over, however!
I arrived home around the usual time. I had hoped to sneak out earlier, but responsibilities required attention. We decided to celebrate my return from the week long sojourn with dinner at Denny's! I could already taste the buffalo chicken sandwich I enjoy almost every time we dine there!
When we returned home, I decided to catch up on some football news while Bekah showered. However, my mind was not entirely on football. In August we had begun praying for our fourth child. Wall street was pretty excited to hear this because every time we start trying for a baby, the companies who produce pregnancy tests see a marked increase in sales due to my wife taking so many of them. I guess making babies is good for the economy!
In December I asked Bekah to take no more tests until February. With February being only two full days away, I conceded to her request to take a test. She had waited patiently. With only two days until the greatest month of the year, why not? Randy was cancer free. The finances looked good. Why not take the test?
Suddenly I heard Bekah speak from the bathroom, "Curtis, could you come in here?" What in the world did she need? Was the drain clogged again? "Just a moment, honey," I replied. Upon entering the lavatory she said, "Can you look at this?" I took the instrument from her and replied, "It looks like a pregnancy test." "Ha ha," she responded sarcastically. As I looked closer, the reading was a bit weird. Following a detailed examination of the instructions, we agreed -- Positive! The Lord had given us another baby!
The following week afforded opportunity to pause, ponder, and reflect. God had enabled us to cast off the bad debt we had accumulated. He had granted the continuing of the life of my father-in-law. He had granted the conceiving of life to my wife. Our finances were accounted for, our father was conserved, and our family continued! God had painted all of this blessing on the backdrop of our family being reunited! It was one of the best days of my life!