I can distinctly see and hear a prayer I made twenty-one years ago that came on the heels of receiving my multiple myeloma diagnosis. Of course, being a new patient, I had no idea of the possibility of being around today. In the solitude of our bedroom, I asked God that I be allowed to live to see all of my children grow into adulthood. My oldest was twenty at the time, the middle child was eleven and the youngest was eight. That prayer was answered. Not only do I have three grown children to love, but I also have seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren. This is a far different picture than the fleeting comment I made to myself back in the early seventies while I was in college. Then I couldn’t see myself with children, and I said I wouldn’t have any. I think the struggles my mom experienced rearing my sibling and I convinced me that I didn’t have the strong stuff for being a parent.
I know this might sound impious, but when I prayed that prayer twenty-one years ago, I was setting a goal for God, or maybe for myself. It couldn’t have been for myself because I had no power to make it happen. Somehow, I felt that living toward a point in my future gave me something to journey to. I would do all within my meager means: follow doctor’s orders, eat right, exercise, be available for any new treatments that could prolong my life despite the horrible disease that had invaded my body. Of course, my efforts paled in comparison to what God would do. Setting a goal for God, sounds silly on the surface doesn’t it; however, isn’t that what we do when we ask for something from Him?
Two years ago, I was out at a garden nursery looking for some plants to start the annual spring sprucing up of our place. We live in one of those neighborhoods where builders bulldozed all the trees and erected houses. I’ve always thought that was a little shortsighted. Home buyers had to plant trees after moving into a house if they wanted the beauty and shade that comes with them. We had moved from an older neighborhood with an abundance of trees before buying this place. The fall of every year presented me with more leaves to rake than I could before winter approached. I would find myself finishing up a few leaves in the coming spring. The thought of having to do that in our new place was too much, so no planting of trees for me. Well, while at the nursery, I spotted some young apple tree seedlings.
Something came over me when I saw the apple tree seedlings. I thought at that moment: Here’s another opportunity to present God with another goal. I’m getting on up in age now, and I often wonder how all the medications I’m taking to fight the cancer is taking a toll on my body. However, through it all, I’m convinced that God is keeping me. With that faithful understanding, I prayed: Father, I’m going to buy one of these seedlings, plant it in our back yard and I ask that you bless me to see it produce apples. I want to see the fruit and taste it. I later found out that apple trees take anywhere from six to ten years to bear fruit, after planting the tree. Ten more years of productive living sounds great for an old multiple myeloma warrior like me. A retrospective of my life shows me that God has been providing fruits for me to enjoy on enumerable occasions.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.