Sometimes, the fear of saying the wrong thing squelches us into silence. This may never be more true than when it comes to a cancer diagnosis. Sometimes, it’s easier not to write for the fear of not putting your words correctly to paper. However, in this moment, I choose to overcome these fears and share this story.
Today I write about the kind of grace under fire that can only come from a place deep inside. Many people, myself included, are experiencing this grace through a family who is near and dear to our hearts. We have all experienced it before in many ways as we have watched this couple with hearts for God and servant’s hands quietly go about their days selflessly, tirelessly, and humbly, tilling the soils of their faith.
Then and now I referred to Jennifer as my “angel”.
Several years ago, Jennifer took on the volunteer role as my assistant when I served as athletic director at our kid’s school. Our children were in school together, played sports together, and I coached her youngest child. Then and now I referred to Jennifer as my “angel.” I could not have done my job without her impeccable service, her unwavering support, and her smile. She was always there, never missing a beat; whether it was strategically scheduling the season’s games, coordinating the volunteer program, or filling in when no one else was available. She did all this and more while she also volunteered in other ways, and took care of her family.
Mike was a faithful fill-in when we needed help on the soccer field, as his schedule as an anesthesiologist didn’t allow him to commit to being there every day. He was there every day that he could be, coaching the soccer teams and cheering them on.
I will also never forget the time I had a procedure scheduled at the hospital where Mike works. To my surprise, when it was time to meet with the anesthesiologist, Mike walked in. Even though I was having a same day minimal procedure, he had come to oversee the process. As soon as he walked into the room, a stillness and calm came over me. I knew I was in good hands. As a cancer survivor, I have had many procedures that have required anesthesia, and I have not always done that great, but under Mike’s care all went smoothly before, during, and afterward. I wasn’t sure what miracle he had pulled out of his sleeve, but I was glad to have it.
“Last week Mike received what seems to be a devastating cancer diagnosis.”
Last week Mike received what seems to be a devastating cancer diagnosis. I reached out to Jennifer to let her know I was here for her and that I was devastated by the news. There are really no perfect words when a dear friend or loved one receives such devastating news. But as a cancer survivor, I felt I should be able to find the “appropriate” words to share. In the end, I shared what was in my heart. I honestly shared that I was upset and that I had kept asking, “Why? Why this family? Why this person?” I offered my strength. What I got back was hers. She said, “There isn’t an answer to why.” She also said, “Mike’s prayer is that this situation will bring others to Christ.” I was blown away by their strength under fire and Mike’s selfless prayer for others. She ended with, “I am married to an amazing man.” I added, “And Mike is married to an amazing woman.”
”She also said, “Mike’s prayer is that this situation will bring others to Christ.”
As the story continues to unfold, there are hills and valleys. A 99% devastation diagnosis, the hope that it’s not cancer, a possibility of treatment, listening to differing viewpoints from different camps, and decisions to be made. What remains unchanged is Mike and Jennifer’s unwavering faith. Jennifer wrote on the Caring Bridge Page set up to keep loved ones and friends up-to-date on their journey, “We choose belief.”
I am in awe of the grace under fire of this family; of Mike and Jennifer’s steadfast love for on another, their steadfast trust, and unwavering faith even under the most intense of circumstances. I am changed by it. Mike’s prayer is being heard and felt.
Will you please join others and myself in a prayer for this family and this individual? Look for a #miracleformike. You can stay up-to-date on the latest news on the Caring Bridge Site for Michael Garrett and experience first hand the grace under fire of this family as they openly share their journey of faith, courage, and belief.