BUT IF NOT...
Once again, my children are telling me it is my turn to post. So, I guess I will add a little "momness" " to the blog and share some of the thoughts that have been rattling around in my head. First off, I wanted to say that I am SO INCREDIBLY grateful for my children and all they have done to lift me up and to support and help their dad. Seeing my children , their amazing spouses and my grandchildren come together in faith and love has been one of my life's greatest treasures. I have been witness to a spiritual strength and depth in my children that I would probably never have seen without this experience. I have heard the sweet prayers of our grandchildren as they ask Heavenly Father to "make grandpa strong again", "let grandpa's headache go away", "take the cancer out"...those are prayers of such pure faith and love that it lifts us all when we hear those words. I have felt our family ties become stronger as each one puts their arm around another to offer comfort and support. The windows of heaven have been opened and we are being showered with more blessings than our hearts can hold.
At the center of all this is Dean...and he is my HERO!! In all of our 35 years of marriage, I have never heard him complain or say, "this is too hard", I have never seen him give up on something or look for a way out of anything he has been asked to do...In 35 years I have never heard him say, "why me?" and I have NEVER been invited to a pity party for him, which makes me feel a little sheepish because not only has he been invited to my pity parties, but I've had him blowing up balloons and passing out party hats, now that is embarrassing! Just because the challenge is different this time, his attitude and the way he approaches it is not. He has always been a "doer" with a "can do" attitude and he is approaching a fight with cancer in the same "matter of fact" way. Dean is a man who gets down on his knees and prays like it all depends on the Lord and gets up and works like it all depends on him. (President Hinckley said that once and I have loved it ever since...it fits Dean to a tee!!) He is a man of faith and he trusts the Lord and knows that whatever the Lord requires will be for his growth and good. I LOVE that about him...he helps me be a better person. How can I mope or feel sad when Dean is so upbeat and positive. His focus is still our family, serving the Lord, doing his best at work and enjoying the life that is his. He keeps us all going!
Last but not least, I have been thinking of a talk I heard several years ago (Conference April 2004)...this talk, by Elder Dennis Simmons, is one that made an impression on me then, but has become much more personal over the last month, it is entitled "But If Not...". Those words," But if not", embody EXACTLY how I feel about the situation we find ourselves in right now. I KNOW the Lord has the power to cure this cancer and to heal Dean completely. I KNOW that He can extend Dean's life and allow us to have more time with him. I KNOW that He can deliver us from this trial..."But if not"...I will still have faith in Him and trust in His will. I will still know that He loves me and wants only the best for me and my family. I will still try to live in a way that would please Him. My faith in the Lord does not hinge on a cure for Dean or even for his extended health. Whatever happens, I will still love the Lord and trust Him completely. This talk expresses those sentiments in such a beautiful way with examples from the scriptures...Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, Moses and Abraham. I am thankful to have those examples to look to. I don't feel that I am giving up by saying "But if Not", but instead I am just turning it over to the Lord and trusting Him completely and without question. Elder Simmons says, "Faith is believing that although we do not understand all things, He (the Lord) does. Faith is knowing that although our power is limited, His is not. Faith in Jesus Christ consists of complete reliance on Him...He has the power, but it's our test." At the end of his talk Elder Simmon's sums up the "but if not's" we might face in our life...He says, "Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not, ...Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not,... He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not, ...Our god will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not,...He will
deliver us from death or impairment of loved ones, but if not, ... we will trust the Lord."
So, through all of this, as I am praying for a miracle, I want the Lord to know that I will accept His will, that even as I am asking for deliverance, I am saying to Him, "but if not"...He can count on me and my family. We will do what is required of us and allow the Lord to make more of us than we could ever make of ourselves. Those are not just words but are feelings that come from my heart. It is my faith in the Savior that makes it possible to face this trial and still feel JOY. I have felt the comfort and peace that only the spirit can provide and I know that we are not walking this path alone. We have SO many who have prayed and fasted for us, offered words of love and encouragement and have added their faith to ours. We feel ALL of it and are filled with a gratitude that is beyond what words can express. It is what makes this trial feel like a blessing. Thank you, thank you.
One more little update. Dean and I went to see the surgeon again today (August, 22) and let's just say that he was IMPRESSED with the way Dean has recovered!! We found out that Dean is somewhat of a celebrity at the office because he had both of the brain surgeons work on him...apparently that is not a common occurrence! The Doctor told us that normally a person with this kind of brain surgery spends a lot of time dealing with complications like headaches, nausea, dizziness, trouble moving, speech or memory difficulties. They kept expecting Dean to call the office with problems, but he hasn't had to call once!!! The Doctor was surprised that Dean was already back at work and driving a car...hmmm, were we supposed to ask permission to do that???!!! Everything checked out perfectly and besides a little swelling still evident, I think Dean could be the next poster child for brain surgery!!! We honestly feel SO INCREDIBLY blessed and know that our Father in Heaven is hearing all those prayers that have been offered in our behalf. Miracles do happen...Dean is proof of that!!!