In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Sacred Moment of Imperfection

Ian's unforgettable smile

Two days ago I held my dear friend, Renee, as she grieved the death of her 13-year-old son, Ian.

My husband Rob and I walked alongside Renee and her husband, David, for the past 14 months as Ian fought valiantly against an aggressive form of cancer. Last February, the doctors declared Ian cured. Two weeks later, the cancer invaded his brain.

We joined thousands of others around the world who prayed for Ian's healing. Since we live in the same town--and since Rob is Ian's physician--we had an intimate involvement with Ian's battle.

Christa walked with us as we prayed for Ian. She is close friends with Ian's younger brother. Several weeks ago, she visited Ian at home. I wasn't certain how she'd respond to Ian in a hospital bed, set up in the family's dining room.

Christa walked over to Ian, who was mostly non-responsive at the time, and held his hand. She talked with him quietly, letting him know that her class of second-graders were praying for him.

This past Saturday, Rob and I brought Christa to the hospital to visit with Ian again. Once again, I wondered if the oxygen mask and the monitors would bother her. She walked over to Ian's bed and again held his hand.

And then Christa and Ian and I shared a sacred moment in the midst of cancer's imperfection.

I'd brought my iPod with me. I asked Christa if she wanted to sing "Ian's song" for him. For the past 14 months, since the day Ian was diagnosed with cancer, Chris Tomlin's song "How Great is Our God" has been Ian's song. She said yes.

So, I hooked one of the earbuds in Christa's ear. Then I hooked one in my ear. We moved closer to Ian's bedside and leaned in so he could hear our whispered song. Together, we sang:

The splendor of a King,
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice,
All the earth rejoice
He wraps himself in light,
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at his voice,
And trembles at his voice

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Age to age he stands
And time is in His Hands
Beginning and the End,
Beginning and the End
The Godhead, Three in one
Father, Spirit, Son
The Lion and the Lamb,
The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Name above all names
You are Worthy of all praise
and My heart will sing how great
Is our God

How great is our God,
Sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

How great is our God,
Sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great, How great
Is our God

Somehow, the memory of that moment eases the ache in my heart. To join with my daughter as she offered a gift to her friend ... it doesn't take the pain of losing Ian away.

It just makes it a little easier to bear.

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At 9:25 AM, Blogger Lisa Tawn Bergren said...

Beth, what a lovely reminder of how precious life is, and how massive and holy and encompassing is our God--regardless of circumstance. Ian now knows the full reality of that song. He SEES. My prayer is that you and Christa and Rob and Ian's family find comfort in that, over and over, even as you grieve the fact that you will not be with him again here. Love and a hug to you, LTB

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Thank you, Lisa, for your encouraging words.
Ian's faith strengthened my faith. And Christa taught me some precious truths through all of this too.

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beth, thank you so much for sharing. I truly am so sorry for the loss of this precious boy--for you and Rob--and even more for his parents. As I read the words from Chris Tomlin's song, I thought about how Ian now gets to see God in His majesty. He gets to worship our King face to face, probably in wonder and awe. Thanks for the reminder to cherish each day with our children. I'm praying for you!
Love, Jeanne

At 8:47 PM, Anonymous Scoti Springfield Domeij said...

Beth, I'm always amazed by your mommy wisdom. What a sweet thing to do with Christa for Ian.

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Patricia said...

What a gift you gave Christa, Beth. I've followed Ian's battle with cancer since you told me about him when he was first diagnosed. I prayed for him every day in recent weeks, and have continued to pray for his family - whose faith has been a huge inspiration to me and I'm sure to many who have watched their valiant fight for Ian's life - even from a distance. I've thought of you, too, knowing that you were probably one of the "Aaron and Hurs" David and Renee often mentioned in the journals. (((Hugs)))

At 11:33 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

It's funny, but I think of the gift Christa gave me ... her complete love and acceptance of Ian at all times amazed me.
She was also present during a time of prayer for Ian later that same evening. While we were praying for Ian's healing, she leaned over and whispered in my ear, "God decides, Mom. God decides."
Quite a bit of wisdom from my caboose kiddo.


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