Tag Archives: loss

Happy Birthday, Cam

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You were delivered to us on a beautiful June day, 22 years ago.  When you left my body, I shivered and they piled on warm blankets.  I laid there listening to the doctor and nurses guess your weight. 10lbs 12oz.  I thought you looked like a baby sumo wrestler!

 

 

As a young boy in a large body, you were 20120211_150135often thought to be older than you were.  Many a time I had to remind myself!  You were so affectionate; gentle and tender hearted. 31792_10150192936930556_6491803_n     You would have been about 6 When the Principal of the little Christian school you went to in Yellowknife told us how much she loved your hugs…..and then asked us if we would ask you NOT to lift her off the floor!

You have always given the best hugs. 129_11705100555_4458_n It’s virtually impossible to ignore your size, but those you got to know you also knew that your stature was outmatched by the size of your heart, by your compassion and care of others.  As you’ve grown, we’ve watched how you love people, without discrimination.  You don’t see age, race, gender or disability and that is a rare and beautiful quality, my son.  When company came, you greeted them at the door.  If they had suitcases, you carried them to their room.  I remember when poppa brought John down for a few days before he passed away.  You’d never met the man, but you spent real time with him; you took a genuine interest in him and that’s not common in one as young as you were.  I know he appreciated that.

That protective instinct we saw in you became a passion of yours that has been played out in the game you love.  It is impossible to think of you and NOT think of football.  You were 7 when dad first took you for tryouts where he was told you were….seriously?  He’s too BIG for football??35825_10150201797755556_6958895_n

“Bring him back next year” said the men in charge.

“Do you think he’s going to get smaller??  Look, I’ll pay the full fare; just let him practice with the kids.  You don’t even have to give him a helmet….”

I think you and dad did the trek to the football sign ups 3 times; Tyke football was just not part of the plan. At 12 you told your dad you were going to lose the 40 lbs necessary to play football at the Pee Wee level.   That’s a lotta’ weight for one so young, but you did it.

It was brutal.

And it didn’t get any easier the following year after growing several inches, but you were determined to play your last year with your team at the Pee Wee level.  You had the support and encouragement of your family and coaches….well, most of your coaches.  There was Hobbs.

His name became akin to a four letter word in our house.  Men like Hobbs ought not to be coaching children; they should be drill sergeants or….border guards.  Rather than encourage you, the man-with-a- Napoleonic-complex-if-ever-there-was-one told you to quit, more than once.  You had to learn to drown out the negative noise that fell from that man’s mouth.

It was brutal. 31792_10150192948355556_2624728_n Despite the difficulties, challenges and setbacks you encountered, sometimes at your own hand, you pulled it out and lost the weight.  Don’t think it could have been any closer; wish I had a picture of you with that shirt made of netting that you and your dad bought prior to weigh in!  I don’t expect you’ll ever forget the cheer that arose from your mates, their parents and the other coaches.   31792_10150192963220556_4415880_n

 

 

 

Your dream became to play in the NFL.  There’s no easy path to getting there; no guarantees or golden tickets.  When we moved you to Ogdensburg so you could play American high school football, 5 minutes from a border you couldn`t cross for 10 months, you were 1 of about 1,000,000 athletes to play high school football in the US.  To get to Division 1 football from there, you had to overcome odds of about 1 in 1,000.  AND YET you are currently 1 of about 12,000 athletes who play Division 1 College football.  23600_10150163537375556_4913802_n

Your position as an Offensive Lineman is reserved for the biggest players.  Thanks to stats 297097_10152152553580618_1656310790_nyour dad has kept, WE KNOW that you are 1 of roughly 2,400 Offensive Line athletes currently on the rosters at 128 Division 1 teams across the U.S.  When considering both size AND weight, in comparison to the other 2,400 OL athletes in Division 1 football, you rank in the top 27 guys returning this fall.

Or roughly 1%.

Going to games and watching you pace the sidelines last year; that was tough and at the end of a long and difficult season, you considered leaving Eastern.  You didn’t WANT to, but you found yourself in a place where you were forced to consider your options.

One was to allow your name to stand in the CFL draft held this spring.  Had you done so, you would NOT have returned to EMU for your senior year. IMG_2012However, any thoughts about leaving Eastern for the CFL were shut down last fall when the CFL amended a long-standing draft rule to eliminate as draft prospects all Canadian-born athletes playing Division 1 football in the U.S. and currently in their Junior year.

That one rule change affected only 5 athletes on the face of the planet; you were one of them.

That rule change eliminated your chance to leave Eastern before your senior year, and without that change you very likely would have never played for the new coaching staff at Eastern.  Now you are being guided and assisted by a completely new staff of coaches at Eastern, many of whom are Christians.     Tyler Allen

You’ve lived away from your family since you were 15.  You’ve battled with negativity; that of others as well as your own.  You’ve enjoyed great relationships with coaches and have learned how to be a team player.  You’ve known winning, and you’ve also known loss:  games, seasons, Coaches and, most tragically, a team mate. 050

Every step gets you closer. 

Every lesson makes you wiser. 

Every battle makes you stronger.

 

 

Today you’re 22, and though we aren’t able to gather around a table and eat cake, we will be thinking of you and celebrating the young man that you are.  I’m thankful, Cam, to have been able to walk through this life with you; thankful to be your mom.  I’m thankful to have witnessed the disappointments and celebrated the accomplishments; you have challenged me.  Whatever lay ahead, I am so very proud of you; the compassionate, encouraging, loving man that you are.

Don’t ever stop.

Don’t ever stop believing in yourself.

Don’t ever stop working hard and doing your very best. (Col 3:23)

Don’t ever stop believing in our God who is well able to do abundantly more than you could ever think or ask.549925_10152569213695618_800471341_n (640x449)

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Rejoice….always?

Rejoice
“I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS; AGAIN I WILL SAY, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  Philippians 4:2-9 ESV (emphasis mine)
Our older 5 children will remember the summer we memorized the book of Philippians. Though I’ve memorized other scripture before and since, it comes as no great surprise that THAT book is the one that comes to mind more often than any other.  It is one of Paul’s most personal letters and in it we are shown and told how to have joy, even while suffering.
I’ve a confession to make.  I’ve not been regular in any sense of that word in my devotions and yesterday morning was the first in a long while…..and where did I find myself?
I recall times in church, a smiling, microphone-wielding pastor would walk among the congregants in search of someone who had a “word of praise”.  What was shared was great stuff…..all of it.  A new job, a raise, healing of an illness, a restored relationship.  I know we are admonished to think on the good things, however I recall my own often troubled thoughts as I watched and listened…..what if we are not in a good place?  What if there didn’t seem to be anything “worthy” of praise?  Though I know it wasn’t the intent, I sometimes felt as though this sharing of good stuff fed into a misconception that God is good…..when good things are happening.  What I wanted to hear was someone who would rise up and say “there is nothing going well for me; I have life, but honestly?  It’s flippin’ hard right now…..I lost my job….my spouse has received a terrible diagnosis….my kids are out of control….the days drag on and my mind is filled with doubt and worry…..I sometimes wish it would just all end!  BUT despite all of that; despite the pain and the hurt and the doubt and the really crappy circumstances, I just can’t sit here.  My circumstances have nothing to do with the goodness or greatness of God; they don’t change who he is or who what he has done for me and though I seem to have more questions than answers right now, I trust him and I know that he has a reason for all of this and, eventually, it will be for his glory.  So though I’m sick and I’m tired, I have to stand and declare that God IS good.”

I’ve since thought that perhaps I’m the one who should have shared that; it has, at times, been my testimony.

Rejoice in the Lord……always; again I will say, Rejoice.  
I have a vivid recollection of a few times in my own life when we were dealing with some really crappy stuff.  That verse entered my thoughts and through gut-wrenching sobs, I intentionally rejoiced….I’m sure that this is the “sacrifice of praise” that means oh so much more to the heart of God than the bland “thanks” I offer, or don’t, for God’s daily blessings. It is easy to rejoice and be thankful in the good times, but am I, really??  Smooth travels don’t tend to turn my mind to God or to rejoicing or being thankfulness.  My faith has been built, usually while I’m kicking and screaming, in the midst of the fire; in the trials and storms of life.    
I like the last half of the last sentence:  practice these things. It’s reassuring.  We’re not expected to get this right….whew.
Rejoice.  Pray with thanksgiving.  Think on the good things.  Practice.