Obstacles vs. Opportunities

Hello All who are joining us in prayer,

Yesterday, life took an unexpected turn. Like you and most of us, I got out of bed and began my day. Catie did not get out of bed. Catie slept for 20 hours yesterday. Today she slept again until we picked her up and put her in the car. The doctors told us that sleeping 18-20 hours a day was an unexplained side effect of radiation. We knew it was a possibility, I just didn’t think it was going to happen to Catie. She has been so active and so vibrant. She was active prior to surgery – even when she was in excruciating pain. She was active and enthusiastic during her rapid recovery. She was active and full of energy down in Memphis during radiation, touring the city and meeting people. She has been so active and thrilled to be home – she has had a full schedule.

Of course looking back I now knew it was coming. Catie’s lunch and snack bags did not come home empty last Friday. Then on Sunday it began to change a bit more. We had to wake Catie and she was very tired. She smiled and enjoyed the day of meeting people and seeing old friends – but she did lack her vitality. She continued to lose energy on Monday and again on Tuesday. So when she didn’t jump out of bed on Wednesday I suspected but yet couldn’t believe that Catie had the soporific radiation lethargy. When will it go away? We don’t know. What are we going to do? Love her and allow her body to get the rest that she currently needs. My only real concern is that she loses her appetite and may lose any of the weight that she had gained being home and eating meals with family and friends. As always God will provide for this and all our needs.

When I woke up this morning I was listening to my new favorite song My Savior, My God and it hit me like a ton of bricks how much God loves us. Jesus, my savior, existed in Heaven with His father and the Holy Spirit – three distinct persons in one God. Jesus humbled himself to come down to earth as a baby to be cared for by a human being – Mary, his mother. How awesome is that? Talk about surrender!! I struggle to explain to Kevin just what needs, in my opinion, to be done. Then Kevin, who thankfully loves me so much, listens carefully and tries to do everything just as I think it should be done. I spend countless hours playing real life “show and tell” with Megan, so that everything runs smoothly while we are away.

I have often heard myself say to the children after they have gone somewhere with Kevin, “what Dad did is not right or wrong it is just different.” That is what I need to live now. Things are going to be different – not just for Catie, not just for me, not just for Kevin and the kids – things are going to be different for all of us. If I continue to focus on preparing everyone so that things appear the same as when I am home I will have missed an opportunity. The opportunity to teach them that things in this life can change over one summer. The opportunity to know that you are loved by your mother even when she doesn’t wake you every morning with a kiss, or pack your lunch, or wash your clothes. The opportunity to let other people, wonderfully generous people, show their love for God and neighbor by packing lunches, making dinners, ironing napkins and uniforms and cutting the lawn. The opportunity to love and understand their father’s love as he does everything for them: works to provide for them; hugs and kisses them; checks their homework; does the laundry and gets them ready for bed each night – holding them and praying with them. The opportunity to pray in earnest for someone else and for themselves – most of us develop our prayer life out of a necessity that arises when we are older then the age of 10.

Life offers us opportunities everyday. In truth God provides opportunities for us everyday. Many times over the past four months I have missed the opportunity and only seen the obstacle that lay before me. That is why I am so very much in love with my husband. Kevin has worked with many people over the years. He is amazing, calm, optimistic and unflappable. This morning as I walked back from the bus stop – the kids had missed the bus everyday this week, but not today – I realized that Mia, our 6 year old and M.E., our 2 year old are just like Kevin. They are filled with joy. They are bubbly – that is your word for Kevin, isn’t it Chuck? Kevin always sees opportunities. Kevin is filled with joy and he selflessly shares his time and his talents with anyone who asks. Now many are sharing with him. Thank you one and all.

Kevin constantly offers me the opportunity to love him. He takes me away from focusing on all that remains to be done and reminds me of all that has been done. What is his secret? (I have the love of a wonderful woman who is a heaven sent gift to me). God knows. What I have thankfully noticed over the 16 years that I have spent with Kevin is that he always makes time to pray. Prayer is his secret, yet it is one that he shares, so it is more like a secret weapon. He realizes that there are obstacles and temptations out there, but he doesn’t let them get him down. Kevin realizes what Jesus gave up to save us – just that thought alone can cause me to simply sit and mediate and pray in awe of His gift of selflessness – Jesus alone can save me. Jesus alone can save all of us from our obstacles. Jesus can turn all our unexpected obstacles into opportunities. We just need to pray and tell Him where we are and ask him and then others for help. Our interdependence is our strength not our weakness, our opportunity over the unexpected not our obstacle.

We have now arrived at LBI. All six kids are sleeping soundly. Catie has asked if she can sleep all day tomorrow. I told her she only had to wake up to get her picture taken. Tomorrow Kevin wants to wake for the sunrise. We are so opposite. I’d rather stay up until the sun rises and then go to sleep. We will let you know what happened. We are in a beautiful house right on the beach. We plan or relaxing and enjoying ourselves and each other. Tomorrow we will take our family beach pictures. Saturday the Closkey’s will gather to celebrate Catie and life. Sunday the O’Brien/Tortorici’s will gather and then we will return home for our last week. At moments the time has flown by. During all the moments that I was cherishing the people and the experiences time simply passed. God is good all the time.

Catie and I will leave on Monday (9/29). Kevin will join us on Wednesday (10/1) with M.E. for the results of Catie’s latest MRI and LP (lumbar puncture) those tests will be given on Tuesday (9/30). Kevin will leave M.E. with Catie and I until the weekend when he comes down again to celebrate our 12th anniversary. He will return home on Sunday (10/5) with M.E.. Catie will continue testing until she is ready to begin chemo. She is scheduled to go in-patient on Friday (10/10). This treatment may seem like an obstacle to overcome. I have described it to many women as the last two weeks before our first child was born. I pray that I see the opportunities that God has for each of us each day.

God Bless,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly and M.E.

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