Did you get that message? Scrolling through social media. Watching the news. Reading the paper.
You voted for him. Or you didn’t. Healthcare is failing. Taxes are rising. Global warming is setting in. The hurricanes will wipe us all out. Big world worry messages.
Did you get that message. On your phone. In your email. As a text.
Your annual appointment. A dentist visit reminder. Well checks for the babes. Busy life worry messages.
Did you get that message? From your significant other. From your mom. From your friend.
We need milk. Will you pick up pizza. Can you come for dinner tomorrow. Let’s get together soon. Make time worry messages.
Did you get that message? In your brain. In your priorities. In your task list.
Get those clothes folded. Sweep the floor (again). Do the dishes. Pack their bag for the sitter. Sit down and play with them. Personal brain worry messages.
So many messages. So many worries. So many reminders. So important.
Until you get THAT message.
And suddenly the only message that matters is the one that shatters your heart like the screen on your phone when you drop it.
Bray has leukemia.
Who is Bray? He is not some unfortunate kid I have read about on Facebook and prayed for. He is not a friend of a friend’s son that my heart has broken for. He isn’t a coworker’s kid or a distant classmate’s child that I feel so sorry for. He isn’t just a relative or even just my nephew.
He is mine.
If you know our family you know our closeness. My sister and I share our babies — she has hers and I have mine but in our heads they are all ours. We aren’t a get-together-on-holidays family. We are a see-each-other-three-times-a-week crew. We talk and share pictures daily.
We call each other for nothing, just because. We call each other to make plans for our next day off together. We call each other to question a bug bite or scratch. And we call each other to warn of a runny nose — as we know it will run through all the kids.
Every activity and adventure, we do together. We plan trips to zoos, museums and pools. We — well, she — literally maps out our entire summer with adventures for our babies. It’s always us — all of us.
Bray and three girls. He has painted fingernails, put on make-up, done hair and rocked baby dolls. But he will also tell you every Pokemon character, kick some butt on some video games, sing along with his favorite Christian hip hop artist, Andy Mineo, and cheer his heart out for Stephen Curry on the basketball court or the Bulldogs on the football field.
So, you see, when that message came, my entire world stopped. I’ll never forget where I was when I got that message. The exact second everything came to a halt.
My mind had been racing all day fearing that message. In the back of all of our minds, I feel like we all knew. We just didn’t want to speak it — that could make it real.
The next few days after that brought a whirlwind of messages — diagnosis, type, treatment, side effects, time. My mom brought a notebook and wrote it all down. The rest of us brought the support system.
Then God sent some messages through prayer and daily devotionals matching up perfectly — easing our pain and giving us hope.
But the most important message came from Bray. The 9 year old who just found out he had cancer. The sweet boy who could have closed up and had a pity party for himself. I mean he just got dealt an unfair hand.
Instead, when his mom was worried with fear, he reached out and told her, “This is just part of my story, Mom. Like my hearing aids, the devil is trying to stop me. But he can’t stop me.”
Then later, after his bone marrow biopsy, he said “I’m going to be OK, Mom. God told me.”
How about that for a message. In a world full of big, busy life, make time, personal brain worry messages, this little boy wipes them all out with his simple belief and trust in God.
And this is just the beginning, the start of this kid’s testimony. Because he will beat this and he will use his journey, his attitude, his strength and his belief to teach us all about true faith.
So stay tuned. For the best message is still to come.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.