Yes this blog is still active. Hopefully I will be posting once or twice a month, depending on how the world turns. This will hopefully help me get better at writing and graphic design. I also work at a Starbucks in a grocery store chain Hy-Vee.
And that's where today's story begins. I come in Wednesday morning and see a co-worker I haven't worked with in a long time K. She's a wonderful lady, and one of the most joyful people I've had the pleasure of meeting, next to my own father. However I learned of some sad news the other week -- she was diagnosed with stage 2 (really the end of 2) breast cancer. That floored me, and seeing her today also floored me. She is a morning worker, while most teenagers work nights and closings. This was my first, and last morning working with K, because Friday she starts chemo and I probably won't work with her afterwards. Every third customer and every third employee who walked past she knew, had a personal connection with, and loved to talk with. She talked with me about her cancer, her life, other people's lives, the day to day grind of working mornings that most of us kids don't know about. It was so wonderfully special and wonderfully sad. All these people knew of K's condition too, and knew that it was her second to last day of working until further notice.
One special man is one that has come in almost every since opening the store and that's H. Around November K started drawing on his cup before he got to the store, just because he was a regular. This tradition has held throughout the store's lifetime. When he found out about the cancer Monday, he was stunned. His face was a somber slab of stone when he asked,
"Who will draw on my cups? B (boss), give K a sleeve of Venti sleeves so she can draw on those cups while she's away."
K: "Well H what do I get out of this deal huh?"
So today he brought in a hat that looks like this. H actually smiled and dropped in sarcastic facade to wish her luck in chemo and to say that he hoped everything would be alright.
K left at 1:30 today and I was alone until 2 when the other kids showed up. And good Lord did I cry. I cried because I'm the last young person to work with her before she goes to chemo. I say and heard how scared she was, yet how hopeful and trusting in God she was about the situation. This was truly the first time that someone very close to me has actually been diagnosed with cancer. There was my pastor's wife before this, but I truly did not know her that well. However in these thirty minutes were rushes of empathy, anger, frustration, longing, and sadness.
I asked God why do the joyful always come down with the worst of sicknesses? I pleaded to the Lord to help her, and thanked him for what a beautiful day it was outside. I thanked God for the other people in my life who are alive and well, and prayed and prayed for God to give K strength in this upcoming battle with cancer. I got to thinking about how K said she was going to read her grandmother's book about suffering called "Through the Valley" or something similar to that.
|Based on this verse from Psalm 23. Click for an analysis of that Psalm|
And just then a thought occurred to me: when are you ground level you see mountains in the background of everyday life. You might think they're beautiful, but you might not pay much attention to them. However once you're in the valley, you can see these mountains for how truly tall they are. You can see these peaks for how truly beautiful they are. You can see the clouds so far above the sky, and remember that there's still beauty in the world.
The valley is not a place to stay, God leads us through to conquer mountains. Matthew 17:20 says that with faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. However God is the one who moves them, into ramps out of the valley.