Saturday, January 29, 2005

Shrink, Shrink, Shrink

Last Sunday in church Frank did the children’s sermon with me. We decided early on in his diagnosis that trying to keep this a “secret” was

1) not in our nature

2) potentially hurtful to those who cared about us (“he’s sick, why didn’t they tell us?”) and

3) superbly difficult to remember who we told what to.

Besides my mama always told me that you should never do something that you would be afraid to let the world see you doing or know about you doing. For an overly hyper responsible child doing something “stupid” in the world became very risky. As an adult I take more risks, but remember that my actions affect more than just me. So in that vein, we share.

Early on it became obvious to me to that we had to find a way to tell the congregation about what is going on; especially the children. Frank is a magnet for kids; a pied piper of sorts. I often remind him that he must use his powers for good, not evil, and most of the time he manages. ;-)

The children’s sermon time of the worship service comes early in the hour, people are still fresh and listening AND many of those in attendance (read: all ages) get more from the children’s sermon than they do from the sermons I preach. They’ve told me so. And that is OK by me. Sometimes the kids amaze me. One of these days when one of their profound answers floors me (as they often do with the depth of theological wisdom), I will call church done for the day.

It was good to tell them about his illness, that he didn’t do anything bad to get sick, and they can’t catch it. It was a good opportunity to teach them about appropriate touch. It’s not unusual for them to run up and jump all over Frank (he doesn’t discourage it). From here on out, they need to ask before touching him, just like anyone who wants to touch them needs to ask permission first. We also to them that we would tell them the truth, as we know it, and that they can ask questions as they come up.

We told them they’d be able to see the effects soon as his hair will fall out. We also had them say a prayer for him. Each of them placed a hand on him and together we all chanted “shrink, shrink, shrink,” to tell the tumor to go away.

Shrink, shrink, shrink.

At the end of this first week, his back is not hurting, so we are positive that their prayers and the chemo is working.