Last night in church my daughter’s cell phone alerted her to a text. Of course, being the dad, I cut an eye over to her and reminded her to silence her phone. Afterward I asked her what the message was about. She told it me that it was a reply to a message started earlier by some friends concerning her school mate, Todd Lurtey.
Todd is a young high school student fighting a rare form of cancer. The text in question was concerning some challenging news that the Lurtey’s had just learned. Todd’s aunt posted the following on a Facebook community page dedicated to supporting the family in this time of trial:
The doctors came back and said that Todd has an inoperable, highly aggressive tumor. There is no more course of treatment for him, so they removed all his tubes (including feeding) and released him to go home. Todd went to church this morning. Through the kindness of a friend, the family leaves tomorrow morning to go on a spontaneous trip to Florida for the week! Pray for precious family time for the Lurteys and strength for Todd for the week.
I must say that I read that message with sadness and also some guilt. You see, some time ago I had contacted the Lurtey’s wanting to show them a small level of encouragement. I had asked Brenda, Todd’s mother, for t-shirt sizes for the family. I was going to put Todd’s name on them and then deliver them along with some Low Cadence coffee.
She got back to me with the sizes and I asked a follow up question about whether to deliver them to her husband at work or do something else. In my defense, at that time I wasn’t sure if they were home or at a hospital somewhere. However, the bottom line is I didn’t follow up and the t-shirts and coffee were not delivered. It ended up on my “Oh, man, I’ve got to do that!” list.
Then last week the Beautiful Redhead signed up to take a meal to the family. The date she signed up for would be tomorrow. I felt redeemed! I would deliver the shirts and coffee when we took the meal over to their home.
Then last night the text came. The Lurtey’s are in Florida. We won’t be taking the meal tomorrow.
It is a small thing. It is actually such a small thing that it almost seems embarrassing. T-shirts and coffee. It seems so insignificant compared to what the family is facing at this time. In their case, I think my heart would cry, “T-shirts? How is this going to change anything?”
Well, the fact is it won’t… it won’t change anything about Todd’s cancer. However, I don’t think the Lurtey’s are going to respond that way. To them those I Ride For Todd t-shirts will be a tangible reminder of a greater community of people who are praying for them and supporting them. Some of them they have never met, but those hearts still ache with them.
I learned a valuable lesson in this. Don’t wait to show your concern. If you are moved to give a hand of encouragement, don’t wait until a more opportune moment. Do it then… no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Your small act of kindness added to the acts of others becomes a mountain of solace for someone hurting.
Pray for Todd and his family. Pray specifically at this moment that their time together in Florida will have the glow of the divine around it. Pray that there will be a comfort and grace that will bring laughter to their hearts and each moment they have together will be moments of joy. That will be something that they can take with them into the days… months… years ahead.