Steve here...It was certainly not our original plan to be packing up and hitting the road for the 1500 mile return trip to Washington on Lee’s birthday, but that is indeed where we find ourselves this morning. I know Lee has done a comprehensive and eloquent job of keeping you up-to-date over the past five weeks as she chronicled the Mayo trip, but I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a slightly different perspective as a birthday tribute from her biggest fan.
Those of you who know us well or have followed Lee’s story over the years know that the vast majority of our life together has been marked at some level by her extensive health challenges. I know and deeply appreciate how so many of you have prayed for and supported us in countless ways. Today, I want to shift the focus a bit and do my best to share the view from my seat of how faithfully and selflessly Lee continuously seeks to know and share the larger purpose for her life experiences. She highlighted a lot of the details of our most recent “roller coaster ride” at Mayo in her last post. It might be easiest to focus in on the contrasting points of encouragement and disappointment associated with the new or refined diagnoses and treatments provided by the amazing team of clinicians at Mayo. If I’m honest, I must admit that there were moments during our time here that the “good” or “bad” news we received either encouraged or disheartened us in unexpected ways. As her husband, I long to see Lee’s pain and suffering relieved and am hopeful that some of the new information and treatments we’ve gained here will provide some relief. I must quickly, however, follow up by getting to the overall point of my post and say that this possibility of improved physical condition is much more my focus than Lee’s.
While I know that she deeply enjoys and cherishes the “good days” when her physical limitations are not front and center, what I have grown to appreciate and admire most about my precious bride is the ways in which she embraces our loving God’s deeper purposes for her suffering. I know she shared a portion of 2 Corinthians 1 in her post; what I want to make certain all of you who read “her story” here understand is that those verses are so much more than a coping mechanism or an attempt to find meaning in the midst of suffering. Paul’s words in this passage and his examples elsewhere (the book of Philippians is another clear example and I didn’t type either here in the hope that you might read both :) have served to shape the core of Lee’s belief that her suffering is both a mercy and a gift that she has been uniquely equipped to walk through in order to bring honor to her Savior and hope-filled encouragement to all with whom she has the opportunity to share her story.
My hope and prayer is that each of you who read this will understand and appreciate how intentional Lee is to try and make certain that her writing and conversations do not cause anyone to feel sorry for her, but rather are ALWAYS intended to share the “inexplicable joy and hope” that provide her life’s meaning and purpose. I hope this blesses you as much as it does me each and every day!
Happy Birthday Buddy!!