Old Friends

From James:

So Young’s condition has remained largely the same over the past few months. She is generally in good health (under the circumstances) and most definitely in good spirits. She is often tired and weak. Originally, we thought that this was just hypothyroidism brought on by the tumor and radiation, but having met with an endocrinologist, we discovered that it is most likely hypopituitarism, which in turn causes hypothyroidism and other issues.

This is how it works. So Young’s tumor is in her thalamus. The thalamus affects the hypothalamus, which in turn affects the pituitary, which in turn affects the thyroid and various other things. The pituitary is compromised indirectly, so it doesn’t do its job of commanding the thyroid properly, causing lethargy, muscle weakness and pain, etc. And oh by the way a lack of desire to run (the infamous “exercise intolerance”).

Hence the marathon is entirely metaphorical at the moment. Sadly, neither of us is running the Historic Half this year either, although a dear friend is training to run it in So Young’s name.

Even though not much has changed recently, So Young is “energized,” she says, by all of the people who still come up to her and say that they are praying for her or ask how she is doing. There’s nothing we want more than your prayers right now.

So Young feels that her close-up vision is improving. When she brings something like that up, you know it is significant. Evidently your prayers are working.

This past weekend was remarkable in that God brought several old friends to us for encouragement, one a church friend from perhaps seven or more years ago, and others college friends from 15+ years ago. I have been puzzling over why God did this all at once. What message is He trying to send us? I think that I see one message there about suffering and what it means to the Christian. Christianity has a very rich and complete perspective on suffering. After all, our God suffered on earth as a man. What more is there to say?

So among the old friends we saw this weekend some have suffered greatly over these past years, with emotionally devastating circumstances and even facing death itself. Of course, you look at old friends and ask yourself, “How has he changed? For the better? For the worse?” Everybody looks at the externals at first. “He lost weight.” Or “Ah, he really does look his age.” But what about the insides? How often do we look at that? Well, I can say that looking at our Christian friends who have suffered, one word comes to mind about their insides: Complete. That is, they have been made more complete, more mature, and undoubtedly with greater faith than before. They seem to be fulfilling James 1:2-4, which one of my suffering friends says makes him “cringe,” although it’s true: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

This is strange, because it isn’t what you would expect from loss. You would expect disillusionment, depression. And indeed my friends have tasted those as well, but that’s not the end of it. At the end of their suffering they find a Christ who is “there” in their suffering, who will not leave them as orphans, and who has in fact “been there” in similar circumstances. Knowing that our suffering is doled out for our benefit and that it is short compared to eternity is a comfort to us.

Pray for our next MRI. It is on April 30. We love you all and thank you for running the race with us!

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10 Responses

  1. I will do my PT in So Young’s honor! Thank you for keeping us posted and educated. You’re loved by so many. Hugs to you both.

    • Thanks for your response and for honoring So Young in that way!

  2. I love you, and pray for you.

    • …And you do a lot more than that every day! So grateful for you.

  3. I will keep you and the family in prayer.

  4. Guerrero’s are praying. Great post.

  5. Hi James and Ruby
    I haven’t been here a lot, we’ve had our own scare. Bill was operated on for prostate cancer last week. Things look good, his lymphnodes were clean and that’s a great sign. We’ll get more pathology results next week. I’m so glad that So Young’s eyesight is getting a little better. Sending you more prayers and vibes. Take care, I’ll be checking in more now things are settling down.

    • Wow, that is terrible to hear, Charlotte. It must be a very frightening time for you guys! We will most definitely keep Bill in our prayers, and you as you support him. Thank you for thinking of us even as you are going through this.

      Much love,

      James and So Young

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