God knows, “Life is life.”

Robert had never heard his SUV make this unrecognizable sound. He was close to his home, but Robert could not coax any more forward movement out of the vehicle.

The SUV had been a loyal friend for Robert. A 2003 model, it now had over 352,000 miles on the odometer. In the back of Robert’s mind, he was thinking this is the end, something is seriously wrong with this old tank.

For a couple of days, he let the tired vehicle sit. Then, he found a repair shop that could run a complete diagnostic test, and Robert had the SUV towed to this garage.

Expecting the worse, but hoping for the best, Robert waited for the results of the test. While he waited, Robert tried to figure out what he would do if the SUV was unrepairable. Robert could not imagine trying to replace his reliable friend.

Sometimes like vehicles, we receive bad news regarding the  internal workings of our bodies. 

A few weeks ago, an older, but still spry member of our church received some lousy news—that demon cancer had decided to invade her body. 

Mrs. S’s doctor told her to think about living for another 39 months. No one wants to hear news like this. Especially, with a frail husband, and a grandson that she wants to see graduate from high school.

For another church family, summer means an annual trek to Cape May, New Jersey. Shortly after arriving with her husband at this cherished location, excruciating abdominal pain overtook Pat. 

Taken to a mainland hospital, a tumor was discovered. 

Eventually, Pat was flown back to Richmond. Further testing was done only to reveal that the tumor’s location prohibited surgery. Doctors deemed it was too risky to try to remove the attacker. In a blink, this sweet lady who is always full of life and giving for others is now in hospice.

This past Thursday, I spent a pretty summer afternoon with former faculty members from Lakeside Elementary School. We had lots of catching up to do. And while we might still look like spring chickens, some of our quiet conversations centered on our aging health skirmishes or the health of loved ones.

One teacher shared the recent diagnosis of her sister, Robyn, who is in a battle with stage 4 colon cancer. That hateful cancer has spread to her liver too. The prognosis is bleak, but Robyn is tolerating the treatments, and there is this word—hope.

Shortly after turning three, my cousin, Alice’s grandson, Eoin, was diagnosed with leukemia. Three years later in November of 2019, Eoin finished his treatments. A tough, long battle, but Eoin won.

This past June, Eoin and his family learned he has a rare heart defect—pulmonary artery sling. Turns out Eoin has been living with this for his eight years of life.

When Eoin was informed about his condition, this was his comment—“Life is life.”

No crying, no tantrum, no making faces at the doctor—“Life is life.”

And you know, Eoin is right. 

Everyday, life comes after us. 

Some days are good. Some days are not so good. 

And whether life is good or bad, why is out there. 

We want to know why life is either good or bad.

We want to know where God is in the good and bad.

When life is really bad, we want to know—hey God where are you in this?

I think God is there in the good and the bad. We just want God to be around more when life is bad.

My friend Robert can tell you about the good and bad of life. 

The good—his SUV has new life. The bad— Robert is always wondering if his body can keep fighting off multiple health challenges.

The SUV with new life. Photo Bill Pike

Robert, Mrs. S, Pat, Robyn, Eoin and their families in their own unique and personal ways want to know—why?

I can’t tell you why. 

But thanks to Eoin, I can tell you—“Life is life.”

And even though it is difficult to trust when life challenges us, somehow we have to trust that God— in these grim situations has surrounded us. 

Because God also knows and understands—“Life is life.”

Author’s note: On the afternoon of Sunday, August 8, the inoperable tumor took Pat’s last breath. Prayers.

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