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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Listening

In the last few days that we were packing up our home in Phoenix we lived in a hotel. One night I was out rather late taking the dogs for their last evening constitutional before bed. I spied an extremely thin man sitting on the curb by the back door we were nearing. Rudi the dachshund seems to have the uncanny ability to sense when someone needs a dog. Time and again Eric and I have remarked that he would have made an excellent hospital aide dog. At our approach the man’s face lit up. (Wiener dogs tend to have that effect on people. They are joyous conversation starters.) He said “Best dogs in the world aren’t they?” By now Rudi was at his feet begging for a scratch. I try to respect that not everyone is as affectionate to dogs as Rudi is to humans so I admonished him to “Get down, not everyone wants a small dog in their lap.” The man laughed and said “Actually I would love that.” He began petting Rudi in earnest while Franz made the slow, wary approach he is famous for, soon joining in on the love fest.

It was clear to see that this man needed a dog or two.

I remarked that it was a nice evening for Phoenix. He replied that he lived in Oregon and missed the coolness but needed to be here for cancer treatments.

So there it was.

He could have just replied that it was a nice night and we may have quickly gone on our separate ways.

But he let a big elephant out into that parking lot. Some people might have become immediately uncomfortable and perhaps mumble “Oh I am so sorry to hear that” and walked away. To tell you the truth a small part of me felt that way too, but a larger part of me sensed a bigger picture.

So I remained and asked “Are you here alone while getting treatment?” somehow already knowing the answer. 

“Yes, he replied. At the Cancer Treatment Center.”

“Oh, yes, I know it. (and wanting to give hope…) it is supposed to be one of the best facilities in the nation.”

Then he said, “They really are great. They arrange all my travel, all of the different doctors come to me instead of me going a million places…..I really have already been given more time than most people do when they receive a Stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis.”

My heart dropped. I knew this diagnosis. I knew that the average life span of this diagnosis was 6 months. A large lump formed in my throat. I tried in vain to swallow it away. I wanted to give him…..more….encouragement….a focus.  So I said “You look like you are fairly young with the strength to beat it.”

“I am 50” he said.

“My husband is 50. So to me that is young. Do you have kids?” I questioned.

“Yes, three he sighed. The youngest is just 10.”

He then went on to say that his two older kids were young adults and that they were helping to take care of him.

I replied, “Well that right there tells me that you are an amazing father.” He said, “Yeah, they’re the best kids in the world. I’ve already made it a year and a half just for them.”

I said, “An incentive to fight the good fight is so important in winning the war against cancer.” At that point I stuck out my hand and said “I am Laura.”

He shook my hand and said “Nice to meet you. I am Kurt.”

Then came the moment that is never easy for me. I said, “Kurt, I am a praying woman. I have faith and I believe in miracles.”

Kurt said, “Yeah, I am told often enough that I am walking miracle. I’m having more chemo again tomorrow.”

At that a member of my family poked their head out of the door, no doubt concerned as to why I had been gone so long.

I told Kurt that I would be praying for him tomorrow for his procedure to go well and that I would continue to pray for him.”

He thanked me and with that I walked back inside and tears started streaming down my face. This man desperately needed a friend and I was soon leaving.

The next night I was loading the car to prepare for our long journey to Texas which would begin early the next morning. I once again spied Kurt, waved and walked over. “How did it go today?” I asked.

“It was a good session. He replied. I feel better than I have in previous sessions. I also had a great conversation with another man there receiving treatment. It was such a gift. It was almost as if I could feel your prayers.”

“Good, I smiled. Because I was saying them and I won’t stop.”

“So, you’re leaving tomorrow?” he asked.

“Yes, I said, my family is moving to Texas. My husband got a job there.”

“Well best of luck to you” he said.

“Thank you. I replied. Remember, I believe in miracles and will be praying for you.”

So, I have been in Fort Worth for two weeks now. I had left Phoenix with a summer cold. It didn’t seem to be getting any better and this last week I walked around, feeling feverish and as if a 1000 daggers were in my throat. I wanted to just crawl into bed. But bed was not an option. I needed to find and set up a home, enroll Sweet Guy in school as well as a million other major moving tasks.

Finally on Tuesday I was so weary and wondering just where I was going to find the strength to rip out floors, tear down wallpaper, patch holes, complete miles of painting and make a home for my family. In desperation I called our insurance and begged for a new primary care doctor.  By some miracle my new doctor had an appointment open for the following day.

The results came swiftly back. I had one of the worst cases of strep throat she had ever seen.

Relief washed over me. I knew that with a few days of antibiotics I would be back to my go getter self.

Like so many others I often take my good health for granted

At that moment I said another prayer for Kurt.

Let me know if I can pray for you.

Laura

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” ~ 3 John 1:2

22 comments :

chateau chic said...

Such a sweet and encouraging post...being aware of other's needs...taking time out of busy schedules to reach out...always being a blessing to those with whom you come in contact. The light of Christ shines through you so brightly, Laura! You're such a treasure!!
Mary Alice

Auntie Em said...

Some days God sends special messengers to people who need to know that he is listening.
Some days he sends special people with two dachshunds to carry that message.

Hope you are feeling better. {{{hugs}}}

Kelley said...

So glad you're better now, and that you stopped to be Jesus to someone in desparate need of Him. Love you for that!

Keep the prayers coming for dear Amber Sullivan Todd-- another of God's beautiful walking miracles.

Hugs and happy highways,
Kelley~

Rita C. said...

Laura, your inspirational posts are like prayers themselves. This one brought me to tears. The plan, no doubt, was for you and Kurt to meet and get to know enough about each other as your paths crossed, both into the unknown, to help each other. Your Rudi was the conduit to bridge any fear, doubt, and to intuitively sense the void between you and the stranger. I'm glad you had the courage to pursue it. Be well, my friend.

Karena Albert said...

Laura I applaud you and your actions constantly. This again brought tears to my eyes, thinking of all the people who probably walked right past Kurt; however there you were, with your time and attention on only home for those moments.Thank you for making the world a much better place!

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh Laura, what a sweet post. I know you touched Kurt in ways only you could do. I am so sorry you have been sick, I hope you are better now. I know you have the keys to the new house and tons of remodeling to do. Just go slow,you have forever to get it all done. I always have you in prayer. Love and miss you.

Louise said...

I am positive Kurt won't forget you and will continue to feel your prayers.

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

Joining you in prayer for Kurt.

Denise Duckworth said...

Praying for Kurt also, and praying for you in your new surroundings

sewingmomy said...

I find such peace and strength in you Sunday posts. They always talk to me. I am estranged from my son and his wife. Not by my choice. The only way I carry on is by faith that I put it all in God's hands and he has a plan for my life. Some days I just wish he would hurry up and reveal it. Keep up your good work! PS i sm originally from Richardson and I can't wait to see what you do with this house.

Gypsy Heart said...

I love this! We never know when God will place someone in our path for acknowledgement, kindness and hope. You and Rudi were "angels unaware" to Kurt. I know he appreciates your thoughtfulness, caring and prayers. Anyone with cancer needs support and a reason to keep going. I am a volunteer with Chemo Angels and the smallest acts of caring are so very appreciated! I will include Kurt in my prayers and I send healing energy to you. I hope you feel better quickly!

xo
Pat

Julie Corbisiero said...

What a touching story Laura. I do hope you feel better soon and good luck with the unpacking and everything.
Julie

Carol said...

That was a truly wonderful thing you did & the words you shared with Kurt were just the words he needed to hear. I agree, we often take good health for granted. It becomes much more of a priority as we get older, but no one should wait that long to get proactive. I hope you are feeling better.

lynn cockrell said...

What a touching story, Laura! It reminds me, once again, that God puts us exactly where He wants us to be and at exactly the right moment in time to do His work. I am sure you know this already, but it was no accident that you were out with Rudi at the time you were there and that God used you both in a way that only He can do.

Our son-in-law's ongoing battle with stage IV kidney cancer and what the disease, surgeries and treatments have inflicted upon his body and mind have made us acutely aware of how much we once took for granted. Cancer not only affects the one who suffers from the disease but the entire family unit. We have come to realize, more than ever, the power of prayer by others at times when my daughter and we were in the depths of despair as we witnessed the cancer ravage the body and, yes, the mind of the person we love so much. So many believers have continued to pray for him and the family on a regular basis. It is those prayers prayed by believers such as you to a loving and gracious God which have brought our son-in-law, now 47 years old, and the family this far. Those prayers will continue to see us through this storm and all that is to come. Your prayers for Kurt are helping him to get through the storm in his life! You are a blessing to all who know you, dear Laura.

bobbie said...

I'll be keeping both you and Kurt in my heart & thoughts ~ Bless you for taking the time to talk with him!

Rhonda said...

Your post was so moving, I sit here with tears in my eyes. We all think life's bumps are so inconvenient..just to find out they are nothing compared to what some are going through. Blessings to you Laura, you are an angel. I too will pray for Kurt. Hope you feel better soon and sending you a lot of hugs. xo Rhonda

Jake's a Girl said...

I feel your pain as we are going through something similar. Breaks my heart. I'll pray for you as I'm praying for Kurt.

Kelly TalkoftheHouse said...

Your story is so very powerful. I will pray for Kurt (and you as well!) You and your dogs did a wonderful thing for him. Thank you so much for sharing. Strep can be so painful, but with meds you should be good as new quickly. Sending get well wishes to you. :)

ohiofarmgirl said...

It is so tragic that so often a person needs someone to listen but we are all too busy to take the time. What a blessing to have a listening ear. Dianntha

Cindy said...

Tears filled my eyes as I read your post, yet I knew Kurt had run into the perfect person to remind him to keep the faith! I will pray for him as well. So glad you got yourself taken care of, too! I have also had a doctor tell me I had his "worst case" of strep and it is definitely not fun! Hope you are feeling better, and I'm sure you're busy making that house into a home!

Angela said...

This is amazing and brought tears to my eyes. Your meeting Kurt was pure providence and I am glad you could pray for him. I'll do the same.

While we are on the subject of prayer, I do have a request. I am seven weeks pregnant and have had some minor complications. So far, we've seen a strong heartbeat and heard that the baby is growing. Unfortunately, we don't go back until Oct. 7, and I can't seem to shake the worries. I pray about it daily- multiple times a day, actually. I pray for good news on the seventh, that our pregnancy will continue to progress, for the complications to stop and for me to stop worrying so much and just trust God. Long list, huh?

I really do think everything will be ok.

Kiki Nakita said...

Laura,

I'm in tatters reading this. My dad passed away last year at 54 with pancreatic cancer. He had been battling it for 2.5 years and it was an emotional time for our whole family.

Prayers for Kurt, and for your family as you settle into your new home.

~Kiki~