It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.
Many of you know that about three months ago, my youngest son, Noah, underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on his adrenal gland. This was the second such surgery that Noah would endure, but this time his treatment plan included eight rounds of chemotherapy. We have all seen movies and/or television shows that depict a hero who takes on cancer and comes out the other end stronger. This hero usually has a few touch-and-go dramatic moments and in the end comes out of his/her treatment stronger and wiser. This is not that story. Every single day is a struggle for Noah, his siblings, and his parents. With that said, I have been overwhelmed by the kindness that we have experienced and the understanding of those around us. This kindness has come from the usual places and those that one would not expect.
Noah receives his treatments at Lurie Children’s Hospital and has an amazing team of care professionals that serve as our guide on this perilous journey. As I sit in this hospital room with Noah, yet again, and watch the doctors, and nurses, and volunteers come in and out to do their business of saving, the same four words keep rattling around in my head no one struggles alone. So many in our lives have taken on this burden with us. It is in these dark times that the hope and generosity of others buoys us and lightens the load.
Watching your child struggle through an illness is every parents’ worst nightmare and I have begged a thousand times to switch places. However, this experience has had the added effect of making me feel incredibly feckless. As a leader in both my professional and personal life I have always been able to handle anything that comes my way. Angry parent? Bring ‘em on. Misbehaving child? We’ll find the solution. Unsatisfied staff? No problem. You see, I’m not the guy that asks for help, I’m the guy that gives help… How does someone who has been the go-to for so many become vulnerable? I have struggled to shift from the role of caretaker to the role of being taken care of. The desire to resist those posed to help us is strong, and I am slowly learning to simply say “thank you” and show gratitude for other’s kindness.
From the custodial staff at our schools to the Board of Education and everyone in between, the message has been loud and clear, no one struggles alone. The gifts of convenience and the loving messages all have a familiar calling card, no one struggles alone. Colleagues from the past and parents whose students attending schools I have long since led have spoken, no one struggles alone. The parents of our children’s friends, and members of our congregation’s actions tell us, no one struggles alone. The teachers and administration at the schools our kids attend announce, no one struggles alone. While we may not be able to thank each individual please know that we are so grateful for you.