Today I am celebrating my friends 50th birthday at the Siteman Cancer Center in St Louis. We are here for a check up after his bone marrow transplant back in October. This is an incredible place and they do some amazing work. I tell Bruce “Next year instead of going to the doctor lets go for a run to celebrate your birthday. Maybe we could do 5.1 miles for 51 years”. I explain to him that I think that is a reasonable goal for him and would worry about him trying to do 51 miles. He gives me one of those looks like “ yea, you think I am the hold up?!” I am sensitive about my friends that way.
I am sitting here in the waiting room looking at all of the people. There are seven floors of nothing but cancer patients. We are just in the part where they draw blood and there are three waiting rooms full. As I look around I see friends and family here supporting their loved ones. I see caregivers who are very tired, sleeping and many with bags under their eyes. You can see and feel their stress. Young people and old people, some with hair and some without- cancer hits them all. It does not take long to realize just how blessed I am sitting here among these heroes.
It is three weeks before Christmas. For some they are excited for what they will get to celebrate this year. Others are wondering if this will be the last Christmas they spend with loved ones and some know that this will be their last Christmas. Some thing’s in life are gradual and some things like my friends life – change literally overnight. Five minutes in this waiting room will change your perspective on life and what is really important. Me ? – I can’t wait to get home tonight and hug my family.
As a funny side note. Bruce and I were in the elevator heading down to breakfast and this couple looks up and the man says I look like I could be the brother of a friend of his. I laugh a little and say “ I am assuming he must be a great looking guy?” and they grin and say yes. They tell me he is a comedian. I respond and tell them some days that is close for me as well – I am a minister. He asks where I serve and I tell him. He then informs me that he has a men’s ministry “Man In the Mirror” and his name is Patrick Morley. I am blown away and tell him I have read a lot of his material. He thanks me and says it is good to meet us. We get off on the ground floor and we go different directions. You just never know who you will run into.
Bruce is making good progress and his numbers are looking up. They are adjusting his medications and each day he gets stronger. He has a great attitude and his determination to get back to triathlons is strong and empowering. However, I think what I admire most is how he is letting God use this in his life. The conversations he is having with others and his daily walk are great examples. God is always with us.