As Christians, our family longs for the day when God rights every wrong, when there is no more suffering, no more death, and no more sin. We believe that God is at work in Christ reconciling the world to himself and will establish a new heavens and new earth after a resurrection from the dead. May sound odd to some, but that is our hope and expectation.
With this expectation and longing, there is the realization that things are not right presently. That God did not establish the world with suffering and death. That childhood cancer was not in the original plan. And that childhood cancer will one day come to an end.
But we don’t live in the past or the future. We live now, today, in the present. Between the Garden of Eden and the New Earth, there is the Wilderness, where evil people shoot kids at school and chromosome mutations will kill 30 kids today alone. A place where doctors have to inject poison into Harrison in an effort to keep him alive.
And in the midst of this, my son keeps playing like a champion. He doesn’t think about the stroke that nearly killed him a year ago. He is paralyzed by the fear of what will happen if he relapses. He doesn’t think about how the Vincristine is slowly killing the bones in his legs and feet.
He just lives his life. And lives it to the fullest.
He takes all the punishment cancer can dish out and smiles. He laughs in the face of nausea. His back hurts from a spinal tap, but he knows his baseball team needs him; so he plays through the pain. Every stride hurts, but he runs. Every swing requires extra effort, but he puts everything he has into it.
He says to cancer, “You may take my hair, my strength, my freedom, but you will never take my will to live.”
He has taught me more lessons than I could ever count, but the one that stands out the most to me is this: wherever you are, be all there.
When Harrison is at the cancer clinic, he is not distracted by having to go back to school sick and injured. When he is at school he is not worried about his next clinic appointment. When he is on the baseball field he isn’t afraid of what the chemotherapy is doing to him.
Instead, with a full understanding of what he faces, he stares cancer treatment in the face and is determined not to stop playing, learning, living. I see his smile and my heart is warmed. I see his approach to life and have to pray, “Dear Lord, let me have his present faith. Help me live every moment of every day to the fullest.”
I want the kind of present faith my son has; a faith that lives in anticipation of things will be by making everything of what presently is.