One year ago, this week, began Sara and my transition back to life in the US. We left Tokyo on the night of April 1, 2009. We arrived in Honolulu on the morning of April 1 (crossing the International Date Line still confuses me).
On April 6, 2009, Sara and I were at Tripler Army Medical Center at 5:00am for her pre-op appointment. Hours later, she was being wheeled out of recovery with the cancerous tumor and lymph nodes removed from her body.
On April 1, 2010, on my way to work I heard the song "Lucky" by Jason Mraz. After Sara died, one of our friends from Korea sent me a note and a Jason Mraz CD. She said that the song "Lucky" reminded her of Sara and my relationship. I got pretty choked up.
April 1st is also my birthday, and I am happy to say that I made it through another "first" without Sara. Some friends organized a birthday dinner and even made my favorite cake that Sara used to make for me.
That afternoon, I had an appointment at Wilford Hall (the hospital where Sara did all her cancer treatment, spent 40+ days on bed rest, delivered Chloe, and passed away). Needless to say, there are LOTS of emotions that come to mind when I think about Wilford Hall.
At my annual flight physical last week, the doctor wanted me to see a dermatologist about a "growth" on my left cheek. He told me not to worry because, I was "...probably too young for it to be cancer." I wanted to say, "Really...too young for cancer...let me tell you a story..." I elected to keep my mouth shut.
I had the "growth" biopsied and will find out more next week. The dermatologist was not concerned, and neither am I.
As I was walking up to the main entrance of the hospital, I felt an emotional wave building. Approaching the main doors, I looked up at the 5th floor window, the 4th one from the left. That was the room where Sara was "locked up" on bed rest for over 40 days. Each day, as I was arriving at the hospital, I would call and let her know that I was there, and as I walked up the the entrance, she would be waving to me from that window. This time, the window was empty.
Following are a few writings that have "hit home" with me this past week. They come from "Streams in the Desert" by L.B. Cowman.
See how the lilies of the fields grow. --Matthew 6:28
Many years ago there was a monk who needed olive oil, so he planted an olive tree sapling. After he finished planting it, he prayed, "Lord, my tree needs rain so its tender roots may drink and grow. Send gentle showers." And the Lord sent gentle showers. The monk prayed, "Lord, my tree needs sun. Please send it sun." And the sun shone, gilding the once dripping clouds. "Now send frost, dear Lord, to strengthen its branches," cried the monk. And soon the little tree was covered in sparkling frost, but by evening it had died.
Then the monk sought out a brother monk in his cell and told him of his strange experience. After hearing the story, the other monk said, "I also have planted a little tree. See how it is thriving! But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better that a man like me what it needs. I gave God no constraints or conditions, except to pray, 'Lord, send what it needs--whether that be a storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. You made it, and you know best what it needs.'"
One year ago, I did not envision raising Chloe as a single dad. However, I am not in charge and apparently, in God's plan, this is how is was supposed to be. When people tell me, "...it was not meant to be this way," I have started responding, "Yes it was!"
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. --Job 13:15
Because I know who I have believed. --2 Timothy 1:12
An old seaman once said, "In fierce storms we must do one thing, for there is only one way to survive: we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there." And this, dear Christian, is what you must do.
Sometimes, like Paul, you cannot see the sun or the stars to help you navigate when the storm is bearing down on you. This is when you can do only one thing, for there is only one way. Reason cannot help you, past experiences will shed no light, and even prayer will bring no consolation. Only one course remains: you must put your soul in one position and keep it there.
You must anchor yourself steadfastly upon the Lord. And then, come what may--whether wind, waves, rough seas, thunder, lightning, jagged rocks, or roaring breakers--you must lash yourself to the helm, firmly holding your confidence in God's faithfulness, His covenant promises, and His everlasting love in Christ Jesus. --Richard Fuller
Chloe continues to thrive and is changing so quickly. Following are some recent pics.
Spring Branch, TX