Earlier this week, I contemplated expressing my thoughts about receiving news that stuns…words that come to us that we never forget. Unexpected news that alters the path of life we were traveling, perhaps changing us forever. My friend and Pastor, Quigg Lawrence recently received news that his oldest daughter Annie, a young woman in her early 20’s had a massive cancerous tumor. Aside from the obvious, my thoughts were how such a man that is in continuous support mode of others, is now in need of the blessings he has brought to so many.
However, I was prompted to write this morning because last night, my wife received the news that her father, who lives several hours away, had a stroke. As with other times in our lives when we have received such news, we are temporarily stunned.
Everyone at some point in their life will receive news that stuns. What follows the stunning news is a myriad of emotions, and then reality starts to settle. We never forget the words delivered, the location we were at the time, and often the look on the face of the person delivering the news. Several years ago my wife received a phone call that she had Melanoma and was scheduled for immediate surgery. I vividly remember her face delivering the news and in my mind searching for words to comfort her. Even further back in time, during the Thanksgiving holiday, my wife and I delivered the happy news to our families that we were going to have our first child. In a matter of a few minutes of delivering the happy news, I received a phone call: Deployment for Desert Shield/Storm overseas, going to a foreign land for war.
When we receive the news that stuns and reality begins to set in, it is human nature to envision the worst of outcomes. But I have learned by experiencing such events that the best immediate reaction is “keep calm and pray.” I personally believe that once we receive the news that stuns, the event has already taken place, we can’t change what happened. But what we can do is reach beyond our own understanding and have faith…In God, in our family, in our friends and in those people such as doctors, our leaders and decision makers.
In many of the events when we receive the news that stuns us, we don’t always envision positive endings. In the personal examples above, Annie had the cancerous tumor removed and is diagnosed now as cancer free. My wife, Jacque survived the Melanoma surgery and is cancer free. My oldest son is 22 and, 21 years later, I am a Veteran of Desert Shield/Storm and all of the soldiers that deployed with me came home alive after a successful mission. Yet, this morning, we are headed to a hospital with a relative in serious distress…but I have faith.
So, I solicit your thoughts, experiences and outcomes when you received the news that stuns. After all, it’s the season for sharing and giving.