mardi, mars 27, 2007

Grace under fire

Can you imagine hearing that you have a (suspended) death sentence in a doctor's office or a hospital bed, and then, a few hours or a day later, reading about it in the newspaper, watching it reported on CNN, and having the way your family deals with your illness become the talk of urban and small town America?

I can't. But it is an honor that John and Elizabeth Edwards share their struggle, and their strength, and their hope with us. And really, who cares what Katie Couric did, or was trying to do when she volleyed one hardball question after the other at Elizabeth and John Edwards? I doubt they lost much sleep over it.

Amid the sadness of the news that Elizabeth's cancer could be controlled , yet not cured, the encouraging words of White House spokesman and brother cancer survivor Tony Snow were memorable and poignant: "For Elizabeth Edwards, good going. As somebody who has been through this, Elizabeth Edwards is setting a powerful example for a lot of people, and a good and positive one.”

Because he has been so open about his illness, Snow has helped bring cancer and its treatment out of the grey light of hospitalizations and hair loss and suffering in which many ill people find themselves.

Wouldn't it be tremendous if more public figures spoke with such candor about being treated for drug abuse, or alcoholism, heart conditions and mental health disorders like bi-polar and Attention Deficit? How many dads and moms who have autistic spectrum kids would be helped by having public figures willing to act as advocates?

Now it is Tony Snow's family who will also need our encouragement and prayer as he deals with a metastatic cancer. He, too has a public role. He also is the middle aged parent of young children. Like Mrs. Edwards, he is gutsy, and optimistic, and determined.

Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards represent not only themselves, but families by the thousands in America who are coping with the sad word of a suspended death sentence for themselves or for a member of their tribe. As we pray for Tony and Elizabeth, as we hope for remission and more time with their families, we ask God to have mercy not only on them, but on every American that must deal with the shock of such terrible news.

Grace under fire? Lord, may it be there for us to lean on, too, when we most need it.

Good going, Tony. We're rooting for you.

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