Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Raising Cane ~A True Story of Gratefulness

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, 
the fruit of our lips that give thanks to His Name.
Hebrews 13:15

I come now before You Lord
Pouring forth praise like sweet perfume
Breaking open my grateful heart,
That I may exalt and glorify You.

May the praises of my lips,
Fill the realm of Heaven with fragrance.
For You have loved and accepted me
Ever present with tender grace and forgiveness.

Jesus, You sacrificed Your life,
A fragrant offering unto God.
You drank my cup of bitterness
Breaking open Your heart on the cross.

Praise and glory be unto You,
My Shepherd through the valley.
You have been faithful all along,
And will lead me to glory.

The Anointing of Jesus

My son Nick and I entered Swedish Hospital Cherry Hill at twilight on a blustery fall day. We found Cory’s room, and settled in for a long visit. Despite his recent brain surgery, Cory looked good. We asked him to tell us how this second surgery came about so suddenly.
“I was writing at my computer, working on my latest graphics project, when I noticed my left hand couldn’t type anymore. Then my leg stopped functioning and I couldn’t walk. I knew something was wrong, so I called my neurosurgeon. He scheduled my surgery within a week and they removed as much of the tumor as they could, along with scar tissue from a previous surgery three years ago.”
Cory lay very still on his bed, wearing his Seattle Sounders hat, his Seahawk sweatshirt and comfy sweats. Clearly he was fighting for his life. Sweet homemade get well cards made by his two girls, now four and five years old, hung on the walls. Cory’s big, beautiful, white smile put Nick and I at ease. He welcomed us into his sterile hospital room that his mother, Kris, had made as homey as she possibly could. There were flowers, pictures of his dad and family, and blankets from his favorite Seattle teams.
We talked about his rehab schedule, and how he wanted to celebrate Halloween with his girls in the hospital; what costume he would wear as he rode from room to room in his wheelchair trick-or-treating for candy. He knew his girls wanted to be princesses.
“How is your mom holding up right now?” Nick asked.
“She’s so strong,” he quickly responded, “So encouraging.”
Then I leaned toward him and asked, “What is your biggest fear right now, Cory.”
“Not being able to pick up my girls and hold them anymore. They say, ‘Daddy, why do you have to ride in a wheelchair?’ It’s so hard for them to see me as weak. I can’t pick up anything heavy right now. I just want to lift them up and give them the biggest hug.”
I’ve known Cory since he was a little boy. He is an amazing athlete, an incredible soccer player and an avid outdoorsman. As a young man, he worked as a model. He is a very devoted father.
“I’m so thankful,” he went on, “for all the doctors and nurses that are here caring for me, Cory added.  “You know, if I were in another country with a brain tumor, I’d probably be discarded on the side of the road and left to die. Yet, here I am, waited on hand and foot by people ready to meet my every need. I have doctors who are skilled and devoted in their attempt to cure me. I’m laying here in this beautiful hospital, served food that I’ve ordered, and completely surrounded by nice people who are here to help me recover.”
Nick and I looked at each other and nodded. Hearing Cory speak so thankfully, so full of wisdom, and with no self-pity was deeply encouraging, and rare. He had an understanding of suffering in this world that very few people knew, holding his head held high with grace and dignity.
The next time I saw Cory, he was at church, walking with a cane and being supported by his dear mom Kris, who is a nurse. Kris had moved in with Cory after his release from the hospital. Kris held onto the back of his jeans by the belt loop, in case he stumbled. I was so happy to see them both, and I gave Cory a big hug. He squeezed me with all his strength and said, “Love you.”
Kris and Cory sat in the front row at church, in the same spot where Kris always sat. At the end of the service, the pastor asked if anyone wanted prayer for more power and strength from the Spirit of God to stand. The lights were dimmed, but I could see Cory slowly stand up tall, head held high, and his mother holding his weak left arm. While we sang, I saw Cory raise his one strong, grateful hand up in worship as his cane hung down from his palm. His hand open before Heaven, Cory humbly accepted his trial and received God’s grace to walk slowly and faithfully through his valley of shadow. His hands and heart were filled.
Raising Cane

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