Wednesday, December 22, 2010
“Not the Pinky because it’s the baby,” this was our five-year-old granddaughter’s reply when Granddad asked, “Ethne, which finger should I use to test your blood levels?”
She wanted to protect the baby, even if it is only a baby finger. Less than a week ago we all learned that Ethne has diabetes. I want to protect her; after all she’s still just a baby in some ways, so young, so innocent. I don’t want her to have to prick her finger four times and day and get insulin shots three times a day! Seven pokes every single day for the rest of her life, this Grammy really doesn’t like this news. It reality stinks.
Still, it’s better than many other things. She gets to live, even if her life (and ours) has altered. I don’t usually invited change or challenge, I’m comfortable being comfortable. I like the boat that doesn’t rock and the status quo is really okay with me. If I had my way I’d never change, never mature, never learn about deeper faith.
Good thing I’m not in charge. Someone Wise and Good loves me, and Ethne and He has a perfect plan for the whole world and for every single day of our individual lives. The only way I get better is when things get worse. It’s because I won’t change unless I’m forced to and I refuse to grow on my own. The squeeze of God’s tender hand molds me and fashions me and teaches me to trust Him, even when it’s painful. For me, the hardest test is when those I love hurt. And when it’s my children or grandchildren, my heart feels especially breakable. “Just let it be me, Jesus. Please, let it be me!”
But He is Lord to little Ethne, too. And He will carry her and hold her and be real to her in her challenges and in her joys—and in every single stick of the needle. He seeks out each one of us for that face-to-face and heart-to-heart relationship. And I want, more than anything, more than comfort and ease, more than painless days, I want each of these precious descendants of mine to know the sweetness of God’s faithful parenting.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Unaware of the danger, I clung to the inner tube as the rip tide steadily pulled me away from shore. At age eleven, I loved floating up and over the ocean swells and felt so relaxed that I could have stayed there all day. So, when people on the beach motioned for me to come in, I felt confused. I want to swim. Still, I slipped from the inner tube and pulled it along as I kicked, with all my might, toward shore. When my best efforts didn’t seem to take me any closer to land, I released the float and used both arms to fight against the tide. The only result of my struggle was total exhaustion.
After a while, I knew I couldn’t keep swimming and my only t thought was, Get back to the inner tube and hold on. With my last bit of strength I kicked in that direction and reached out to grab the inner tube as it floated away from my grasp. Too weary to go on, I simply stopped trying and sank calmly into the deep arms of the Pacific Ocean. I remember feeling like I was just falling asleep. Unexpectedly, the strong arm of a lifeguard circled my waist and pulled me to the surface where I took the breath of air that saved my life…
This childhood incident comes close to describing our last two years. We have struggled in deep waters as our son-in-law, Robert fought testicular cancer, with our daughter, Aimee, at his side. As parents, our hearts were especially warmed by the way our children and children-in-law responded. Each one readily altered their normal life to offer Robert, Aimee and their little ones the tangible love and support they needed. Many others also did all they could to sustain this faithful, brave pair.
Still, the illness raged and drained Robert’s life until he took his last breath and surrendered into the outstretched arms of Jesus. His home going will remain one of the most sacred times we’ve experienced on this earth, as the Lord drew Robert toward Himself and offered us His peace. So, at age 28, surrounded by his closest friends and most of his family, our Robert p preceded us to heaven.
The lingering impression of these months is that we could not have managed without the power and absolute necessity of prayer as an untold number of believing friends, family, acquaintances, Facebook contacts, Blog followers, Flickr friends and other strangers joined to support all of us in this battle. We literally felt the prayer support and the grace that was extended to us in response. These petitions kept our heads above the deep despair that can drown the living when the young suffer and die. If the weight of this battle could be described as an immense woven sheet smothering us, the prayers of the faithful were a multitude of hands raised up that lifted the heaviness so we could continue to take care of the three little ones, encourage the sick and weary, praise our good and wise God and live each day fully under His marvelous sovereignty.
Now you understand why the Craig Cameron family did not send out its annual letter last year. By God’s grace life goes on and joyfully Christmas comes again with another chance to send our greetings. Currently, Craig is entering his eleventh year with EPOSG and just re-board certified. He’s a very hard worker and thankfully still loves what he does while looking forward to retirement, or at least some sort of change, ‘in the future.” He serves as an elder in our church, leads a weekly home Bible study for men (I cook for them), has a blast flying his plane (sometimes I go along) and even skydives now and then (without me, thank goodness.) Together, we help lead an adult Sunday school class on marriage.
I (Sue) stepped back from many of my activities to offer extra Grammy help to Aimee during the last two years. Recently, when she and the children moved out of our home (yes, they are doing well) life began to settle back into a routine. I’m working on a book, Healing Steps, for survivors of sexual abuse. A group meets with me each month to review the material and give feedback and suggestions. My mom, Rosli, still lives with us and keeps busy with a pet/house sitting business, playing Bridge, attending her Sunday school class and other various activities. She often helps out in the kitchen and we are so thankful for her good health.
We enjoy traveling and spend a lot of time in other places, often visiting our children and grandchildren (all eight are wonderful and growing too fast.) This summer Craig and I took a fabulous cruise to Alaska and in early 2011 we will be going to Kauai for a medical meeting. We just celebrated our 33rd year of marriage and realized we’ve spent a third of that time in this one house (a record for us.) It’s a great house, with lots of space, and we’d love to have you come a stay with us in 2011.
We’re so thankful for each of you, our family and friends, and realize in a new way that you are indeed our greatest gifts. Blessed Christmas and a year filled with
God’s perfect faithfulness! Love, Craig & Sue