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This is the day…

Today, as I write this letter, Greg is at his doctor’s office… another 3-month check to be sure that the cancer is not back.  Each check makes us hold our breath.  Each completed check allows us to breathe again.  Some people survive this cancer for years, but we know that these early months are when the cancer is most likely to rear its ugly head again. Thus, another trip to Philly, braving the traffic, finding parking, walking through the streets of the city to hear the news that right now allows us to breathe.  We have learned through this journey how fragile life can be… that we are not immune to the brokenness we see all around us.   How many times have I walked with others on this journey?  This road should be very familiar.  But when I found myself on this road, with the man I cherish most in this world, it felt dark and dangerous.  And then in the midst of all that darkness, God spoke- “This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

Today is the day… to say, “I love you.”  Today is the day to pause long enough to watch the sunset spread colors across the sky.  Today is the day to eat a good meal.  Today is the day to try something new.  Today is the day to sit side-by-side binge watching a TV show, just enjoying time together.  Today is the day… it is the gift that God has given.  We have no guarantee of tomorrow, though we do hope for many more tomorrows, but today we are determined to make the most of God’s gift.  It is amazing how hearing the “C” word can reorient priorities and redefine purpose.  Some people retire early at this point, determined to get to the Bucket List before time runs out.  But we have decided to stay where God has called us, finding joy in life right where we are.  This is the day!

One of our dear members just gave birth to her second child.  When I talked to the grandmother on Sunday, she reminded me that her granddaughter is already two months old.  How time flies!  I look at my children and marvel that I could be old enough to have children who have children.  How time flies!  I remember planning our dream vacation to Banff Canada… all the travel blogs and tour books… all the details decided and itineraries created.  And now that trip is in the annals of Bell family history, giving us great stories to tell for years to come.  How time flies!  I remember the day we decided to close the doors of Lenape Valley in the face of a pandemic.  And now, three years later, we have settled into a world where COVID vaccinations will be like the Flu shot… How time flies!  They say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, but I think time just flies!  So, we must catch it as it moves past, and pause time long enough to savor the moment.  This is the day!

I sat with a dear member today as she prepares to meet the Savior face-to-face. Her cancer journey has been long and arduous; so many treatments, so much suffering. There have been many times when she wanted to give up, but for the love of a son she pressed on. For years, I have been given the privilege of sharing this journey- praying together, crying together, hoping together. This dear member has become a precious friend. When I saw her last week, we had a good conversation, even laughed together about her ‘hovering sisters.’ Today, there was no conversation. We are beyond words now. I thought we had more time. I wish we had more time. I want more conversations… not just one more… I want lots more. But today we sat in silence together, my hand stroking hers. This is the day…

Bruce Main, the Director of Urban Promise, sent a letter to UP supporters .  In that letter, Bruce told of a man who had lost his brother.  In response to that loss, the man today wrote, “My brother’s death has infused my living with urgency and clarity.  There is no ti me or space for fear or indecision.  There is no time or space for wasted days and wasted years.  I must live now, fully, ferociously…”  This is the day…

In just two weeks, we will begin the journey of Holy Week, from parade to table to cross to an empty tomb.  The week always feels like a whirlwind of emotions sorrow, elation.  Everything seems to happen at breakneck speed.  But joy , confusion Jesus creates a pause for all of us willing to walk with him.  That pause come s at the Table .  Imagine that meal , The disciples are blissfully ignorant of what is about to happen, but Jesus is painfully aware.  He knows that Judas has betrayed him.  He knows the kiss is coming.  He knows that his closest friends will run, leaving him alone in the hands of guards...  He knows he will face a trial with no one to defend him.  He knows that Peter will deny him again and again.  He knows the suffering that will come before the sun will set again.  He knows… and yet, he takes time at the Table to wash the disciples’ feet, to teach them , to offer bread and cup Jesus knows the importance of this supper.  He knows that this is the day!

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

With you learning how to rejoice in today,
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