Saturday, April 08, 2006

April 6, 2006 - Cards and Letters

Ever since my diagnosis, I’ve received a lot of wonderful cards, letters and e-mails, from all sorts of people. Church members, ministerial colleagues, family members, neighbors – even some high-school and college friends I haven’t heard from for years – all of them remind me that I’m surrounded by a wonderful circle of caring friends. I read each one with appreciation and gratitude, although I’m not able to respond to them individually.

Today I go into the church office and find waiting for me a gift bag with a CD of “healing music” (oriental flute and zither) and a card. The card is very special – although I don’t realize how special until I examine it thoroughly.

It’s from Sheryl, one of our elders who’s a physician’s assistant. Sheryl is on the faculty of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and has been very helpful in connecting me with accurate medical information about lymphoma. I open her card, which contains a letter. As I open the letter, a little card falls out, about the size of a business card. It has two cartoon penguins on it, one of which is being half-devoured by a large fish. One penguin is saying to the other, “Relax, God’s in charge.” Glancing at the little card, I set it aside and move on to the letter – not realizing that it’s the card that is very special.

Sheryl explains in her letter that this card has been in her house since 1991, stuck behind the light-switch cover in a guest room. It was placed there by her daughter-in-law, Robyn, who moved into Sheryl’s house when she was a senior in high school and was going through some difficult times. When Robyn moved out, she left the little card behind, and there it stayed, until recently. Sheryl explains that, from time to time, she would glance at the little card and draw strength from its simple message:

“There have been many subsequent times when I have taken considerable comfort from this little card with its reminder that God is indeed in charge. I eventually came to realize that all the most worthwhile detours in my life path have resulted from what were originally perceived as adversities.... In spite of your current health difficulties, I have no doubt that one day you will realize this experience has enriched your life in ways that cannot possibly be understood or appreciated at this moment.”

Well, Sheryl, I do realize that. It’s remarkable how many blessings have come our way, as a result of this difficult experience. The words of David come to mind:

“He reached from on high, he took me,
he drew me out of mighty waters.
He delivered me from my strong enemy,
from those who hated me;
for they were too mighty for me.
They came upon me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my stay.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

With the loyal you show yourself loyal;
with the blameless you show yourself blameless;
with the pure you show yourself pure,
and with the crooked you show yourself perverse.
You deliver a humble people,
but your eyes are upon the haughty to bring them down.
Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord,
the Lord lightens my darkness.”
(2 Samuel 22:17-20, 26-29)

I can’t say deliverance has arrived, in my case, but I am still in the midst of this healing process, and I do have hope. Thanks, Sheryl – and so many others – who have reminded me of God’s love and caring. It does help.


Anonymous said...

Dear Carl,

I have this very same card in the front of my rolodex at the office - often I have wanted to send it to someone I know who could have used it but I selfishly have kept it for myself using it as sort of a "touch-stone" to ground me. Such a small card but so powerful and poignant for me - hope it will do the same for you. Will have to ask Sheryl where she purchased it. Charlene

Syd said...

If anyone ever finds out where to get one I'd like one. When we cleaned out my grandmothers house I took hers and it got lost in the move. I regret it all the time and would love to have another

Unknown said...

I'm glad to see this card again since 1995 when a friend battling with arthritis gave me in Japan. I lost it in a move. It inspires me to keep going, no matter what.

Unknown said...

I'm glad to see this card again since 1995 when a friend battling with arthritis gave me in Japan. I lost it in a move. It really inspires me to keep going no matter what.