My stepfather Jim is sick. Really ill. He’s been in alot of pain lately and is now in hospital for the second time in two weeks. Along with the list of things he suffers from that I mentioned in my ‘Newsy Stuff’ posting he suddenly became short of breath and it was discovered that he has a shadow on the top of his right lung. His pain continued on unabated during all this until in the end it became unbearable and an ambulance had to be called. The hospital have not yet seen fit to biopsy this lump/shadow despite knowing about it since the 5th February and now we’re at the point where only a biopsy will give us the information we need. Jim is understandably expecting the worst news. Having worked for many years in the paint industry he’s seen a couple of older workmates die of lung cancer which he suspects [I think] might be due to the careless handling of chemicals [historically] before ‘Health & Safety’ became the force to be reckoned with that it is today. Who knows?? It makes little difference now if that is to be the worst case scenario.
Jim is obviously not my biological father but he’s been such a lovely ‘Dad’ to me. He’s a huge Mancurian man with biceps like Popeye and a heart of gold and when he hugs you, you stay hugged. He calls all the women in his life ‘Chuck’ except me. Me he calls his sweetheart!! He has made my mum so very happy and when they met he lifted her up emotionally at a time when she really needed to find her self-esteem and courage for life again.
I have just spent an hour or so with him at the hospital. For a change it was just the two of us. He spoke from his heart about his fears, death, his illness, his desire NOT to have invasive treatment [if it comes to that] just to prolong his life for a few extra weeks. I told him I would support him no matter what he chose to do. Only he can make those difficult choices for himself. I can understand him wanting to express these things now despite nothing having been confirmed. I think he has a ‘feeling’. I hope he’s wrong. I really hope he’s wrong!!
Somehow I held it together but as soon as I was in the car it all just came flooding out, tears of frustration and so much sadness ~ all the things I don’t feel able to express on a hospital ward in front of a man who I love as my own flesh and blood. I’m using Si’s car at the moment [mine’s in dock having a service as the brakes are faulty] and I get the luxury of being able to use the ‘in car’ CD player. I’ve got my Stuart Townend CD in there and my favourite track is ‘In Christ Alone’ …..
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.
These are the words I hold onto during the painful journey home. How can I [who is struggling to choose what colour sox to wear each day just now] manage to support these two people who I love so much through what could be the worst time of their lives?? I feel mighty inadequate!! As I sat there today listening to Jim, I prayed and prayed for the strength not to cry, to be able to be the ‘together’ person he needs me to be, not some teary heap of mush. God, as always, delivered in spades and thank God I was that person for the time required. Who cares how sad I was after, as long as I can be there for him and mum when I’m needed.
My confirmation is all set for Easter by the way. Fr James and I met and discussed the finer details on Monday just gone. It was important before, it’s doubly so now as I need my faith in my heart and my Lord by my side and somewhere to call my spiritual home.
Thank you for reading…..