Thursday, October 28, 2010

"So How Is Heath Doing?"


That's the easy answer that rolls off the tongue.  And for all practical intents and purposes, he really is doing pretty good most days.

Imagine yourself being a 20-year-old male who has just spent the last couple years of your life trying to figure out what in the world you want to do with your future.  You've spent a lot of your life on the farm and been surrounded by farmers who can't imagine doing anything but farming.  You've been given opportunities to drive anything and everything a whole lot younger than most kids.  You've felt trusted, learned work ethic, and been raised to be independent and responsible.  Your dad felt called to leave farming when you were 10 and moved you to the city when you were 13.  You've watched him build his own business in the financial services industry, and you've been privy to both the joys and frustrations of being self-employed.  You've grown up surrounded by Christians, given your life to Christ, and even took a strong stand of your own which drastically changed the course of your life right before your senior year of high school, and it took you back to living on the farm with your grandparents right after your grandpa had been diagnosed with cancer.  Next you spent a year and a half at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago before deciding that full-time ministry was not really the right path for you.  You come back home, explore working with your dad, and think about going to the Navy.  You adjust to living at home again with your family, you miss dorm life and the camaraderie of your friends, and you are challenged spiritually.  Your friends are starting to get engaged, and you have a girlfriend you love and adore.  You watch as friends graduate and look into getting their first real job and think about the student loans they'll have to pay back and wonder what happens to them if and when they get laid off.  You finally decide to take advantage of a great scholarship opportunity and at least get a bachelor's degree under your belt for now.  You see a new friend enter into a relationship with Christ, and you tell your mom that you've been inspired by his witness, and you're ready to draw closer to Him again. 

And then September 2010 happens.  You're back in school and enjoying it.  Your grandpa passes away from cancer, and you know you're going to miss him like crazy.  You stand up in your best farm friend's wedding and know that your friendship will never quite be the same.  You're very excited about your new job as a farmhand.  The very first day on the job, you followed your boss's instructions and end up getting a tractor and 1300-bushel grain cart full of corn stuck in a wet spot that you had no way of knowing about, and even though you're a bit humiliated, your boss is gracious.  You have a grand mal seizure two days later and have to tell that same boss the next day that you can no longer work for him because you can't drive heavy machinery for six months.  In fact, you can't drive anything for the next six months, and you're now at the mercy of everyone else's schedules.  You've totally lost your independence, and you are forced to live with the fact that there is nothing you can do to change it for now. 

And then you're told you have a tumor in your brain. 

Up until then, you could never have imagined that something was wrong.  Now, every single movement you make is scrutinized because of this new knowledge.  You really don't feel any different than before you knew, but now that you know, you overanalyze any little thing that seems even the tiniest bit strange or different.  In fact, your life is suddenly on display, and everyone is watching you, waiting for some new bit of information.  Some people might even be guilty of making your situation sound a little bit worse than it really is just because it makes a better story.  You're told to wait, and therefore, everyone else waits with you.  Nothing really changes.  You don't want to wait, you just want things fixed and back to normal, and you want to wake up from this nightmare.  In your darkest and loneliest moments, your fears and worries threaten to consume you, but you have to just wait.  You miss your grandpa; you miss farming; you miss your good health.

At the same time, you start experiencing a little more love and concern than normal from people.  Your family basically treats you the same, but yet there is a little deeper sense of love that permeates the home.  Your time together is even a little more cherished than usual.  Your sense of humor is still intact, and once in a while, you even throw caution to the wind and make a joke about a tumor.  You experience tremendous love and support and 110% commitment from your girlfriend even through the difficult times and even when most girls would have been tempted to bail and give up on the relationship.  You're being sent texts, emails, cards, and messages that remind you that people care and ask how you are.  Friendships are renewed and strengthened.  Scripture verses of encouragement are being shared with you, and you wonder just how God will choose to heal you.  You pick up your Bible a little more than you had been, and you pray a little more than you did before.  Prayers are even being said requesting that this thing called a tumor would miraculously disappear, and your faith in God is stretched and challenged like never before.  You know that people are watching you, and you wonder how your testimony will impact the lives of others.  You want to be strong, and most of the time you are.  Ultimately, you know deep down that your faith in God is the only thing that will get you through this, and you're learning how to fully lean on Him and find strength and comfort in Him while you continue to wait. 

"So how is Heath doing?"

"He's good."


  1. Jacki;
    I'm sorry that I'm just now learning about Heath. I do know though the power and peace that come from putting what's in your heart down on paper (or screen) :-)
    You have an amazing ability to capture the essence of your experience for all to share. Thank you.
    I'll have to get caught up on the story but I wanted you to know that right now, at 11:48p.m. there's someone in Kansas praying for miraculous healing for Heath and for strength, wisdom and peace for your family who love him so much.
    God Bless You!!

    Michele Grabber

  2. Thank you so much Michele. It's so comforting to know that there are people praying and ultimately be reminded of God's amazing power. Thanks again!
    Heath Westerkamp