Thursday, October 6, 2011

On the Eve of Eternity

Life is so very short, yet why does two months in a single place seem like an eternity. As I strolled the halls tonight for the umpteenth time I became some what reminiscent. (Don't get me wrong, I am soooooooooooooooooooooo ready to be outta here. There is nothing new to discover in these halls.) The emotional and spiritual journey that the Lord has brought us on is so rich and so good. It has been a goal of mine to not miss out on the meaning behind the experience we are on. I know that there is still much that we will go through and learn as we transition home and rediscover our family unit, but I am going to attempt to reflect on a few things that have stuck with me over these last few months.

Family, friends and community are a gift from God. The people God has placed in our lives have allowed us to thrive in a survival situation. In the first week both my family and Kara's surrounded us with support as we prepared for our darkest hour and where there to celebrate with us as we got word of the successful surgery. They gave us the freedom to support Levi and they gave Kade the love and support he needed. In the coming weeks, turned into months, many people the we are close to and whom we have never met blessed us with love, prayers, gifts, support, meals and visits, all of which made the routine of our life work.

I really love my wife. She is amazing. Her full time job the past two months has been to be here for Levi. With our sleeping shifts she would often put in 32 hours straight before getting some relief, only to leave here and go home for the night to be with another boy who loves and needs his mommy. Then she would get up the next morning and be back here to do another 32 hour shift. She really is the one that held this whole thing together. To use a quote from Lost, Kara is our "constant". I love this girl so much and am ready to be with her for more then 2 hours, which is a high estimate of the average amount of time we have been in the same place on a daily basis over the last 2 months. All this while carrying Ryska boy #3.

I love my boys. Both of these guys, Kade and Levi, are the greatest thing to ever happen to me. How can someones heart love someone in such a way. This is the mystery of being a parent, because when #3 comes a new level of love will emerge and be just as strong as what I have for my boys. Both these boys are champions. Levi has gotten a lot of publicity, as he rightly deserves, but Kade has been a constant joy for Kara and I (minus the nights he just want to continue to spend time with us way past his bedtime, but even in this my heart is soft towards him because he loves his mom and dad and continually reminds us of God's goodness and the Big God that we serve). He is very much so ready to have his family home.

Our story in not unique. There are dozens of families that we have met while roaming the halls. Many of which are in a much more challenging situation. In learning their stories we recognize how very richly blessed we are. Ours is a happy ending, one of hope and promise. It hurts my heart knowing there are those whom we have met that do not have the hope we are able to have. They are still living in uncertainty. Truth be told, we do not know what the future hold for Levi. In the near term he has a lot of work to get his body strong and walking again. There is still a chance the cancer can come back. There are many more unknowns about his future, yet still ours is a happy ending.

As I said on the eve of his surgery, or a few days before, we hope in the One who gives us reason to hope, for Levi's future is in His hands. Levi's life is not mine to keep. He has been gifted to me by our Creator and I have been entrusted with the joy and duty of being his father. When face with the unknown of what is to come we have two choices: live in fear, live in peace and joy. We fear what we can not control. Yet when we surrender our fears to the Lord, trust that he will take care of us, and meet our needs despite what happens in life, we can live on in peace and joy. That is the joy that we can have as Christians, followers of Christ. It is not a crutch, not ignoring reality. It is humbly acknowledging that we are not the god of our lives, there is a greater one who holds our lives in His hands and has a purpose for each of us. Living life surrendered to His will allows us to be free of the fears that come from that which we cannot control. I do not claim that I have attained such freedom, for I still have many fears, but this experience has shown me more of the manner in which the Lords desires me to be living my life on a day to day, moment by moment basis.

I hope you don't mind me sharing some thoughts. For those who do not know me, it is in writing that I process my thoughts and I thank the many who have allowed Kara and I to process with you. We will continue to share our journey as tomorrow is only the beginning of a new chapter to the story of Levi's life.


  1. Very well said. God bless you and your family Dan.-Julia Johnson

  2. Dan - Chris and I continue to learn from your situation, and are so impressed how you and Kara have handled all that has come your way. So happy that Levi will be going home soon, but know you all still have a lot of work ahead of you. We praise God for all he has done, and cannot wait to see how he will continue to work in your family. - Chris and Jennifer Kenny

  3. thanks for sharing dan. your journey has been a true encouragement to our lives. we hold you constantly in our prayers. anjuli

  4. you guys are such an inspiration. sending prayers for continued recovery and strength.