If you’ll bear with me for just a moment, I’d like to share some thoughts about a wonderful person that I’ve recently come to know very well and feel like I’ve known forever. It is not by chance that we have come together in this life. Our Father in Heaven knows us well. He loves us and wants us to return to live with Him someday. And as such, we are brought down to this earth to gain physical bodies and to be tested and tried to see if we will remain faithful to God or forsake our faith in Him. We are all faced with trials and adversities in life, but it’s how we endure those tests of our faith that is important. In fact, learning to live happily and faithfully despite life’s unexpected difficulties, in my opinion, is one of the great lessons and purposes in life. Some of these trials can be very difficult, but I believe God will not give us any trial that he does not think we can handle. I see this as a testament to the strength of Marilyn as a person that God would allow her to go through so many trials in her life. She is a true survivor.
Of course a loving Heavenly Father would not leave us alone in our afflictions. We have family and friends to help us. Sometimes new friends are placed in our paths to help us through specific trials. I count myself blessed to be a part of Marilyn’s journey and I, too, believe this was not a coincidence.
With my wife recently going through her own battle with cancer, I learned from her a valuable lesson about survivorship. No matter what your trial, you can be a survivor or a victim. Even though we cannot choose our trials or the physical outcome of our trials, we can choose whether we become survivors or victims spiritually. A person like Marilyn who has fought valiantly and lost the physical battle with cancer can still be considered a survivor and even moreso in my book. A survivor, as my wife sees it, uses everything he or she has to come through to the other side of a trial with his or her spirit intact. Not everyone will survive physically. In fact the opposite is true. Everyone will not survive physically. We all pass through this life and at the end, leave our bodies behind and take that great step into the eternities. Our spirits survive even if our bodies don’t. We will see each other again. Of that, I am sure. So the ultimate test is how we spiritually endure the hardships we face in life.
I love the example of Job in the Bible who lost everything from his property to his children to his health. He was accused of sinning by his friends who turned against him. But he remained faithful, gave thanks, praised the Lord and said with all humility and sincerity, “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” Job was a true survivor. We cannot predict what trials will come in life, but if we are prepared spiritually and endure well the hardships we face, we will be remembered not for whether we win or lose the battle but how we spiritually endure.
Not long ago, I was reading in a sports magazine an article titled “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched”. It told of the game Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched against the Milwaukee Braves on May 26, 1959. The story picks up in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. “The Pittsburgh Pirates left hander tugged at the bill of his black cap, glared at his catcher from underneath and nodded. No one said anything but everyone knew he was one out away from pitching the seventh perfect game in history. The 78th pitch blew by the batter for the final out of the ninth inning. He had pitched nine perfect innings… but the game was not over. The score was still zero zero. He went on to pitch twelve perfect innings and then lost the game.” Sometimes, you can do everything even to perfection and still lose the battle. Though the game was lost, the title of the article stills says it all – “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched.”
Marilyn is a perfect example of someone who has lived her life in faith and happiness, despite the trials she faced. She did not have a why-me attitude but instead seemed to ask why not me. She looked for the small miracles in her life and has continued to thank God and praise Him for blessing her. I am truly grateful to have come to know Marilyn. I have never felt so close to a patient. Of course, I think of Marilyn as a good friend. I’m sad and frustrated to not be able to help Marilyn physically, but I’m happy to see another small miracle that she is not in pain. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives.