You know the scene. George Bailey is stressed beyond his breaking point. After an encounter with an angel shows him just how much of an impact he’s made in the world, he finally heads home to face whatever comes. When he does, he’s welcomed and surrounded by friends, coworkers and neighbors, all happily there to give a little love and help a good guy out. It still makes me weepy.
I think most of us sometimes wonder: “Do I really matter? Does anyone care? How am I going to make it through this?” I have. So has my favorite person and husband. Especially since cancer has put him on the bench of his career. This man doesn’t sit. He leads. The bench is a horrible place for someone like him. It’s been hard, emotionally and financially.
A few weeks ago I received a call from his boss. The team wanted to get together for a Christmas lunch. (A “Meeting”if the company is reading. Which is true, because there was much work talk!) As the date crept closer and the stress of Christmas has been building I wasn’t sure I could make it through a “work event.” We were also anxious about people who haven’t seen hubby in a while being shocked by his appearance. I’m usually just worried about looking fat. Now we have the whole “do I look like I’m dying?” Thing to consider. Kyle wore “real” clothes. We triple checked that his pee tubes were tucked in and solidly connected. NO pee-tube* accidents this day! He looked great. Short? Yes. But good.
I overdressed and wore a gorgeous pair of sparkly blue shoes I bought for a trip to Hawaii that cancer ate 2 years ago. (Shoes are a big girls friend. You can find beautiful ones that fit. On clearance. Justsayin. Overdressing is what I do when I’m feeling anxious and insecure. It’s my super power.) Then, we nervously wobbled our way to the car. We were met in the parking lot with warm grins and big hugs. Led into a private room and greeted by people from Boston to California. They flew in from everywhere to be with and bless us. It was mind blowing. For 2 hours kyle was off the bench and like George Bailey told and shown how much he’s loved and missed. They bought him a new laptop so he can stay connected, and the team gifted us with enough cash to make up for all of the cray cray that has happened at our house since November. We now have some extra money for fun and surprises and filling experiences. (This momma is booking a massage asap. Just sayin.)
The gifts were overwhelming, but even more than that- the sacrifice of time, fighting through pre holiday flights and getting here for a 2 hour lunch then heading back home was touching. We know the sales teams schedules. We know the crazy that is a few days before Christmas. We can’t even put into words our gratitude.
It truly is STILL a wonderful life. It always will be. Because we’re loved and supported. Even here. When cancer threatens and punches and hurts like that really big kid in middle school who’s only way to be known was to punch other kids in the face. Cancer? you’re a bully. Regardless of how this fight turns out, you’ve already lost. You may steal life, but you can’t touch a life well lived. A life well lived lives on long past a broken body.
If you’re feeling afraid, forgotten, alone, beaten down or tired of fighting, I hope this reminds you that you are more than what you’re fighting. I pray that if you find yourself benched, that your team will surround you right there on the bench. If you’re overwhelmed by the holidays, I pray you find clarity to let some things go and hold others close. I pray you get to take your dancing shoes out of the box, and if you can’t dance- at least dance in your heart. That wonderful life lunch had me dancing all week;)
If you are lonely and this story stings, I pray that you’d find the courage to step out and find people to love. Go to church. Talk to people. Sometimes you have to answer the phone and say yes to a lunch date. Other times you have to pick it up and make one. Do it. You are valued. You are loved. Even here. When it doesn’t feel like it.
*pee tubes- our nickname for hubbys bilateral nephrostomy tubes. Necessary because radiation has fried his bladder like a tostada. Just one of many little bonus’ with cancer purchase. I would love to return this stuff but cancer comes with a lot of things, just no receipt. 🙁
Dear lord, thank you for the blessing of returned love and kindness. Thank you for coworkers that become family and for people who are willing to sacrifice to remind a hurting bench warmer that he’s still on the team. Thank you lord for meeting our needs in a most beautiful way. And thank you for the reminder that it truly is: STILL a wonderful life.