Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Remember Today, Little Brother

"Remember today, little brother. Today, life is good." Boromir, the Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien

You would think that today would be a sad day in my memory. You would think that I would look back on this day five years ago and feel confusion, frustration, maybe even anger at my circumstances. The funny thing is, all I can think of when I look back on this day is this quote from when Boromir and his little brother, Faramir, just took back Osgiliath for Gondor. At first, it was a very happy statement. They had just won the battle, and it was time to celebrate. Then their father, Denethor came in, did his thing, and ruined the celebration, before sending Boromir off to aid in mission with the ring. Even through the frustration of Denethor's actions, Boromir repeated this phrase to his little brother before he rode off: "Remember today, little brother. Today, life is good."

I guess I should take you back in time to what happened in my life five years ago on this day. We were all sitting up in my room together, waiting for the phone to ring. Dad was out of town so we had him conferenced in on our phones. Just sitting and waiting. I couldn't tell you how long we waited, but it felt like forever. Then the phone rang. And that's when we got the news the my Mum had cancer.

Over the next few weeks and months, life changed so much, as you would expect. I was 15 or 16 and I basically had to turn in the rest of my childhood and my years as a teenager to take care of Mum. Mikeyy and I took care of her every day while Dad was at work. Somehow, she still managed to teach classes at our homeschool co-op. Life really never was the same.

When I look back on it all now, I feel like I should look back on it with regret--regret that our family had to go through this trial, regret that I had to give up my childhood at such an early age, and so on. The funny thing is that I absolutely don't. If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, I would tell myself what Boromir told Faramir: "Remember today...today, life is good." The thing is, when Mum got cancer, my life never stopped being good. Sure, it got harder, but those struggles are what make the easy times in life even more precious. And those easy times in life have a similar effect on the harder times--you look back on them and realize that in some weird way, they were a blessing, no matter how hard they got.

I got the chance to take care of my Mum, to return the favor for how much of an amazing blessing she's been as my mother. I got to team up with my little brother and cook her food and clean the house for her and just bless her. I got to get together with some of my best friends and build steps in our backyard down to the tennis court, so that even though she couldn't play tennis, Mum could at least have a quick and easy way to go watch.

We had to find a new way to do life, and there were things that we couldn't do together. But even though our lives got harder, God never stopped endlessly blessing our family. We had new opportunities to trust in Him and rest in that. We learned how precious and how important we were to each other (even if it was learned the hard way.) We learned to live sincerely, not taking any moment with each other for granted. We learned to smile and laugh through pain. Above all, we learned that God. Is. Good.

So today, I don't look back five years ago with regret. Sure, what we had to go through was sad and hard, but I don't look on it with regret. I look on it the way Boromir looked on his goodbye to his little brother. I didn't know this back then, but it was a very bittersweet day. It was hard, but in the end, that doesn't take away from the fact that today is good.

Right before Boromir said his little phrase, he said one more thing. The men had just finished a huge battle, and as he looked around, he noticed something.
"Break out the ale! These men are thirsty!"
While today marks the five year anniversary of us hearing the C-word, this Friday marks the five year anniversary of my Mum being cancer free. Now, it's time to break out the ale, celebrate the good times, celebrate the hard times, celebrate joy through the pain, and celebrate each other.

So, I say again: "Remember today, little brother. Today is good."

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