In times of urgency and crisis we find that many people are there, and they care. Whether the event is an international tsunami, a regional hurricane like Katrina or an earthquake in Haiti, or a friend or family member stricken with cancer, the best in us seems to consistently come forward on the High Road to help.
Marie and I have watched the DVD version of the musical play, 1776, a number of times over the years, and have seen the stage version as well. One of the turning points in the play, and in our country’s history, is when votes were deadlocked, agreements could not be reached between the delegates, and most of them had walked out of the hall during that hot summer of creative tension. John Adams then sings a soulful song titled, “Is Anybody There?” In doing so, he reviews WHO he is, and WHAT matters most, concluding that he has passed the Rubicon and will not give up or turn back.
Of course, delegates did return, the votes were finally gained, and a new nation was born. People were there, and they did care, as they do today when faced with a critical decision or choice.
Listen to this short clip of John Adams singing from his soul:
Is Anybody There?
[I borrowed this short audio clip from the "1776 The Musical" website, Page 7 of the audio clips:
In Part 1, I list 4 examples from family and friends to begin answering my question, “Anybody there, anybody care?”
Example 1. A story of endurance
From a neighbor and friend, and until now, I did not know that she had cancer years ago:
I hope you don’t mind, but I was able to read from your blog and was touched by your reflections and your insights into your journey on the cancer train! I was sorry to hear of your diagnosis and can totally understand what you’re going through. I’ve been on that train and it was an interesting ride, to be sure. I just wanted to offer my support and prayers to you and your family during this difficult time. It seems like yesterday that I was given the news that I had cancer. Boy, those words change your life forever. You have a wonderful wife and family who will no doubt stand by you with incredible strength and faith. Hang in there. I can’t count the number of blessings that came from my own cancer experience. I know that will happen for you too. Thanks for the example you set for all around you.
P.S. I’m attaching one of the many talks I gave over the years where I was able to share a bit about my journey. This is one that I gave five years ago at a women’s conference. Maybe it can give you a bit of comfort.
Example 2: The milkshake challenge
From neighbors and friends, who also face significant health challenges, and who have come forward to offer tangible as well as spiritual help:
I’m happy to report to them that after my esophageal stent was installed, I can swallow almost normally again, and the milkshake was as medicinal as it was tasty!
Example 3: A card from granddaughter
From a 5-year old granddaughter who was helped by her Mom to create a get well card for me:
With Mom’s help, Audrey chose to make an elegant card on poster paper, framed in feathers around her kindergarten printing: “I love you Grandpa. Get well soon.”
The inner fold of Audrey’s card shows lights as round circles on the wall at the top, Audrey and Grandpa at the left with shining eyes and smiling faces, and even a picture of Audrey and Grandpa hanging on the wall to the right. Then a repeat of our names.
An email excerpt from Audrey’s Mom, Lori, gives a glimpse into the level of caring this little girl shows:
Thank you for choosing to share your experience with those you love. I have overheard Audrey tell her friends at school about her grandpa that has cancer. She understands that you are very sick and wants her friends to be aware of what is important to her. You are important to her.
I’m grateful that young children are so transparent with others about what matters most to them.
Example 4: A card from grandson
From a 3-year old grandson who was also helped by his Mom to create a card for me.
In the margins of Max’s art work, Mom Jackie, wrote in the card:
Dear Grandpa and Gmaw (code word for Grandma) … Max LOVES you. He is is sad you are sick, Grandpa, & wanted to send you a card. (Heart) Max
Grandma & Grandpa are both grateful that our grandchildren are being nurtured to bring out the best of their natures, at an early age, with the guidance of their caring parents.
Under normal living conditions, there are basically two kinds of problems I have: (1) Problems you are comfortable helping me with, and (2) Problems you are not comfortable helping me with.
But, when urgency or crisis comes into our lives — for helpers who choose to do so — comfort zones get stretched, unconditional acts of love are shown, and helping skills are developed that were thought unnecessary, or impossible to attain. What can result from these stretches? A new nation can be born, humanitarian aid can pour into countries for disaster relief, neighbors can join as angels around me, and family — both old and young — can strengthen me in all their conversations.
Is anybody there? Does anybody care? I’m filled with gratitude to say “YES” to both questions today!
I also pray for those valiant participants in the Addiction Recovery Program, that they will feel the support and help from those who care, so that they will not feel alone, nor abandoned, in their special times of need, and especially when their problems make others feel uncomfortable to help. My hope is that they will be able to soon say in their sharing time, “YES … they are there … and YES … they care!”