The Sweet Bye and Bye

“You can always depend on a kid to speak his mind. In a barber shop the other day a six year old came in, climbed up on a vacant barber chair and piped: Give me a haircut like my dad’s — with a hole on top.” While Kids Say The Darndest Things, they also say it with honesty and forthrightness. Art Linkletter shared a great deal about how kids communicate with uncanny accuracy. There’s rarely any beating around the bush or sugar-coating, it’s just ordinary and natural for kids to tell it like it is.

 Adults can take a few lessons from children in this regard, especially during life’s most difficult journeys. It’s not uncommon for one of two thought patterns to emerge when parents are faced with difficult circumstances.  One says: don’t talk about the worst case scenario because it might not happen, so why worry their little minds? The other says: let’s talk about it but limit the conversation, as it’s probably the furthest thing from their minds anyway.

The honest, forthright news is this. If you’re facing difficult circumstances, your children are facing them too — each in their own way. This past weekend, I visited with a couple who has become very special to me. As this young mother has courageously fought stage four cancer, her devoted husband and four loving children have watched, while each battling from the sidelines. Cancer has invaded their home and their security. Like a thief, cancer has robbed them of money, security, health, and well-being.

The Baughman family has continued to equip themselves for the battle ahead. Knowing that their children range from pre-school to college-age could cause any by-stander to feel pity along with a sense of helplessness. I felt something powerfully opposite during my visit with them. It’s often viewed as a negative when children are “forced” to fill big-shoes in life. However, healing also comes through doing, sharing, and helping. In participating, you’re actively making your way through — that helps kids in the toughest battles too. Helplessness is replaced with a sense of accomplishment in being equipped for the really tough stuff in life, which inevitably comes. Taira and Rob beamed with pride as they shared each child’s self-assumed (age-appropriate) role, much like any parent does in talking about independent strides.

As we sat together sharing life stories, we slowly crossed over into the storm. Their strong faith eluded a confidence that God knew the storm long before it was ever known to them. The storms have a way of revealing our most admirable traits along with our most troublesome fears. Cancer sort of wrings us out — revealing God’s honest truth from deep within. I believe that’s the side many of us would prefer to avoid. It’s also the reason many late-stage cancer patients (and others battling life-threatening illnesses) receive less visitors as time marches on. Just when families most need to see and touch others’ strength, visits quietly diminish. I hope that the Baughman’s abiding faith will erase such timidness in others.

Just as this storm was known long before they entered the battle, its ending was also known . While the outcome is invisible and the hope of a miracle remains, a worse case scenario still lurks. Just as our military prepares for the worst before entering the battle zone, I encouraged this couple to do the same. Their children…and others surrounding them…are thinking about all possible outcomes, even if they’re not voicing it.

Whether this battle ends with the declaration of an earthly miracle or a bitter-sweet bye and bye of Heaven-envy, the Baughman’s are courageously equipping themselves, and others who come after them. Cancer has no defined battle lines. It’s invading all geographic and demographic lines as the fight for a cure rages on. As my visit ended, we circled in prayer. A gentle peace overtook our streaming tears. It was as if we all stepped into the boat and let Jesus lead the way. I left them with a rock of hope and a shared-heart for When Mom’s Cancer Doesn’t Go Away. My life will remain wonderfully and beautifully changed — and that is something cancer can’t steal.

If you feel led to shine a light of hope, the Baughman family can use help with meals, around the house, financially, or simply team up to walk in honor of their fighting spirit, please visit this page.

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