I got up early for a meeting yesterday and found John playing a new computer game a friend had given him. He had been up all night, bent on conquest. His brother had worn out at 3 AM. After I had given him a breathing treatment we had this conversation.
"Dad, I think I’m anemic again...You probably are John....I want another transfusion.... Are you sure you want one?...I’m not ready to give up...John some things we do in medicine prolong living and some things prolong dying...What do you think I should do?...I wasn’t planning to give you anymore blood, but if you want a transfusion I won’t withhold it from you...Dad, do you have peace with that?...uhuh...Then lets wait...I love you John...I love you dad."
I could barely see the road through tears as I went to my meeting. That evening he told me he’d been praying and didn’t want anymore blood.
A friend at church once comforted me with the words, "We know how to live...what we don’t know is how to die." I doesn’t sound comforting but it gave me permission to feel uncomfortable with all this.
A photographer friend carved out some time and came to our home to take a family picture. We set everything up outside and then my oldest son carried John out to pose with everyone. It was hard not to cry between smiles for the camera. Many people have brought meals over; our freezer is stuffed. If love could be measured in food volume we are smothered.
"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,and they will call him Immanuel - which means God with us." (Matthew 1:23) This Christmas will probably be the most memorable in my lifetime. Every year as we approach Christmas we will think of John. Every year we will be reminded of God’s life lesson in 2005...God with us. Comforting us, holding us, guiding us, carrying us. Isn’t God good. Thanks for praying....Phil
What do you give your dying son for Christmas? I can't imagine. Putting myself in Phil's shoes . . . the thought is too staggering. I would want to give my son life, of course. But then that is what Phil and Laura have given to John. Though he is slipping physically, he is strong spiritually because long ago they taught him about the one who holds the key to eternal life.
It is feels a little preposterous showering my children with gifts this year when Johnny would just very much like to live. But then again, life is what he has because he knows the way, the truth and the life - Jesus! And so for him, this will be a Merry Christmas.