Why I’m Glad I Skipped the Second Week of Lent

Last week I didn’t make my daily Lenten walk to the mailbox for the very good reason that my husband and I were away for our first-ever trip to Hawaii! I’m sure we looked like just another couple of tourists in Hawaiian shirts and leis (and no, we did not get matching outfits!), but for us those seven glorious days marked a special anniversary.

Last year at this time, my husband–who had always been healthy, who even then felt as healthy as usual–received the dreaded diagnosis: Cancer – Surgery – possibly radiation – possibly chemo. At first, we could hardly take it all in, let alone share the news with others. And once we started telling people, we decided to keep it out of social media. What we were going through at the time felt too enormous for a Facebook post, too tender for Twitter. I didn’t even feel like blogging about it, and besides it wasn’t only my story to tell.

But now with Gary’s permission, I’m sharing the glad news that his surgery went well with few complications and no need for radiation or chemo. He started running again, returned to teaching, and is now quite well recovered. I am so THANKFUL!! and praise God for carrying us through this last year–for physical healing, for calm in the midst of anxious moments, excellent medical care, many supportive relationships, prayer, and so much more. 

Our experience of the last year has reconfirmed Lamentations 3:22-23 for me:

It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

I couldn`t ask for a better post-surgery celebration than Gary’s full recovery, and to top it off, we planned a post-surgery, post-recovery trip to Hawaii. While some give up Facebook for Lent but make an exception for Sundays, I decided to make this last week my exception to Lenten practice. We had good reason to celebrate! When we booked our flights we still weren`t sure if Gary would be up to a lot of activity or whether we might just relax and do nothing, but our trip to Hawaii turned out to be a wonderful combination of both.

Admiring Diamond Head from the beach at Waikiki–still impressive even on a cloudy day:

Diamond Head

Hiking Diamond Head one morning:

Hiking Diamond Head

Enjoying the view from the top:

View from the top of Diamond Head

And the shave ice reward at the bottom: 

Shave Ice

Seeing beautiful flowers on the side of the street and everywhere:

Walking back from Diamond Head

Taking a nature tour along Oahu`s North Shore:  

Dragon's Eye

Spotting a Hawaiian green turtle which is an endangered species: 

Hawaiian Green Turtle

Watching the sun go down from Gray’s Beach:

Sunset on Gray's Beach (375x500)

Let the Lord’s name be blessed
    from now until forever from now!
From sunrise to sunset,
    let the Lord’s name be praised!
                                – Psalm 113:2-3

 



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23 replies

  1. So glad Gary came through it! I know that the life of a family dealing with cancer is full of so many unknowns… and they don’t stop after the initial treatments.

    May God continue to bless you in this journey…

    • Thank you for your words of understanding and blessing–they take on extra depth as I think about the experience of you and your family, and I pray for God’s continuing mercy on your journey too. Your Caregiver’s Beatitudes have been a helpful reflection for me, and I look forward to blogging about them soon 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing your wonderful news! We celebrate with you.

  3. Thanks for sharing this with us, April. I’m so happy for you that all went well. What a wonderful celebration too. God’s continued blessings on both of you.
    Liz Brasier

    • Going to Hawaii was a great way to celebrate, Liz – besides seeing the sights, I really enjoyed the food….fresh pineapple every day; a luau one night with roast pork and other traditional foods like long rice (which I discovered was a kind of transparent noodle), poke (a raw tuna salad, a bit spicy like a salsa), poi; and one morning I had macademia nut pancakes (best served drenched in coconut syrup I was told, but that was a bit too sweet for me, so I switched to maple). I trust that you are well also – grace and peace to you.

  4. Thanks for the happy news, April. I am so glad you and your husband got a chance to go to Hawaii. And with news of a clean bill of health? That’s the best of all, after a year of uncertainty and much prayer. God’s blessings on you both.

    • Yes, a clean bill of health for now, with regular follow-ups–if I think about that too hard, I realize that there is still a certain amount of uncertainty! With cancer, there is always a chance of recurrence, and life itself is uncertain. At the same time, we know that God is faithful, and we have so much to be thankful for.

    • Yes, big WHEW!! We are SO grateful for God’s mercy. I know too that many others face far greater challenges with far less positive outcomes, and I pray for God’s healing, peace, and hope. O Lord of Life and Love, make a way for those who are suffering, lift their burdens, ease their pain and weariness, that they may find rest in you. Make me faithful in prayer on their behalf. Grant me wisdom and energy to respond in practical, life-giving ways. Amen.

  5. So happy you could celebrate after such a scary ordeal!

    • Thanks, Elfrieda – I’ve heard others say that part of the fun of any trip is the anticipation, and I certainly felt that way this time. It was good to have something special to look forward to 🙂

  6. Beautiful. You both are a tremendous gift to many. Thank you for this wonderful update!!

  7. Perfect way to celebrate!

  8. What wonderful news! Sharing your joy.

  9. April we were in Hawaii at the same time! What a perfect place to feel God’s warm touch! Blessings to both of you!

  10. Praise God! So delighted to read this post. Celebrating with you April! – Merri Ellen 🙂

    • Thanks, Merri Ellen, it was special to celebrate with a week away, and special now to celebrate with spring here at home. The plum tree blossoms are out now outside my kitchen window, and my (indoor) peace lily is blooming for the first time in several years. Life is a celebration!