May 012012
 

 

 

 

Several weeks ago, my friend and fellow Monkee, Lou sent Monkee-See  Monkee- Do a check for $700 dollars. The money had come into her life as extra, and she felt moved to send it to me. The check sat on my desk for several days.

The following week, Lou emailed to say that she was afraid. She found a lump in her breast.  She had an appointment the following day at two o’clock to find out if it was cancerous. I panicked and sweated and KNEW in my heart that this was the end of the world- but said to her, “It’s fine. It will be fine. I know it will be fine. I’m praying.”

The morning of The Appointment, I started emailing Lou meaningless “I’m thinking of you” messages. I watched the clock. At two o’clock I started staring at my computer- Waiting. Waiting. Ding from my inbox. Incoming mail. I opened it, grateful for the distraction. It said:

Hi Glennon,

I need to first say that I am not a blogger, nor am I a monkee (sorry!).  But my wife is and almost every time I see her on the ipad in tears, she is reading your blog (I mean that as a compliment).  She tells me about the wonderful things that you and your monkees do and that is what made me think to send you an email.  I don’t know if you “take requests” so to speak, but I wanted to let you know about one of our neighbors.

They are husband and wife in their mid 30’s and 4 kids, ages 5, 9, 12, and 15.  They moved here to Utah about 2.5 years from Ohio to be closer to family.  The wife was at that time recovering from breast cancer and a double mastectomy.  Besides being where they are both from, Utah is also home to the Hunstman cancer institute.  She had made what doctors told her was a miraculous recovery and about 2 months ago was given a clean bill of health and told she was 100% cancer free.  About 4 weeks ago she hurt her leg and was in so much pain that she decided to go to the doctor.  What they found out was that the pain was a fracture due to bone marrow loss and she was told she had bone, lung, and liver cancer, all in Stage 4.  They have been doing a great job the last few weeks of acting as if everything is normal, knowing that the prognosis is that she will likely not survive the year, the 5 year survivability of these is 0%.

All this being said, what I am hoping to help them with is some car repairs, they have two cars, both about 15 years old.  His car, which has 180K miles needed some work done and for the past three weeks he hasn’t done it because of the cost.  I saw the car sitting at the mechanic today and stopped in to see if I could pay for it for them, but it was $800, which unfortunately is more than I can help with.  I gave them $100, but would love to have them pick it up today or tomorrow and not have to pay anything.

 

The man needed $700 for his neighbor with cancer. Not $650, not $800, but $700. And so I immediately emailed Lou and said:

 

LOU! I KNOW YOU’RE IN THE WAITING ROOM. BUT LOOK! LOOK AT THIS EMAIL THAT  I JUST RECEIVED THIS INSTANT. IT’S A MESSAGE FOR US. YOU’RE GOING TO BE OKAY, LOU. IT’S A MIRACLE. WE ARE BEING LOOKED AFTER, LOU. ALSO- I’M SENDING HIM YOUR CHECK RIGHT NOW, OKAY?

Then I emailed the man back TWO MINUTES LATER and said: I have a check for $700 sitting in front of me with your friend’s name on it. Actually, you have to tell me your friend’s name so I can write her name on it.

And he wrote back and said: Are you serious? Is this Glennon?

And I said: YES! It’s Glennon! I promise! Just trust me. The check’ll be there in 3 days. Thank you for loving your neighbor so very much.

And he wrote back and said: “This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.”

And I said, “Yes. It is. It’s amazing. I agree. Thank you for allowing me into the amazing.”

And he said, “My wife is going to flip. Thank you.”

Then Lou emailed and said: “OF COURSE! IT’S A MIRACLE, SEND HIM THE MONEY! AND ALSO …ALL IS WELL. ALL IS WELL! It’s just a hormone imbalance.”

And I said, “Well I could have told you that, Lou. I mean, they need medical degrees to tell us we’re imbalanced? Duh. ” And then I silently said thank you Jesus thank you Jesus thank you Jesus.

Last night I got a card:

 

 

It says:

4/23/12

There have been many times when I have read and heard about people receiving gifts be complete strangers. I have always admired those who are so insightful to be the angels for those whose lives seem a little too hard to handle at the moment. You are the angels who gave us the feeling that maybe we can handle all that is coming our way.

As we were opening our stack of mail, we received a handful of medical bills, ads, and your envelope. As we opened it, we were both in tears. We were so shocked, grateful, and wishing we knew who you were! We have taught our children in the last few weeks many lessons from your act of kindness. You are in our prayers as we thank our Heavenly Father for our angels in Virginia who sent a gift that came at such a time that we know we are being watched over. Thank you for being inspired and then for listening to that inspiration. With Love and Gratitude.

 

I mean . . . Lou’s generosity, her lump, her need for hope, Monkee See  Monkee Do,the timing, the neighbor, the cancer, the family, the amount needed. Me getting all the credit even though it was all Lou’s money.

MIRACLES ABOUND, PEOPLE!

EYES WIDE OPEN TODAY!!!!

Love,

G

May 022012
 

CROYLES-ONE
This essay will be shorter than it deserves to be. Like me, actually. I’ve got ten minutes till Amma wakes and tells me her stomach hurts horrifically and she can’t go to school, so instead she’d like ice cream for breakfast and to spend the day at the petting zoo.

MONKS-

Please flashback to our Love Flash Mob for the Croyles.

You gave TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS in ten hours so that we could send this suffering family on their first family vacation.

Here is how your money was spent:

You bought thirteen (10 family, 3 friends) roundtrip airline tickets from Pittsburg to Florida.

You paid for a luxury beach house in Captive, Florida for ten days.

You rented two vans for the duration of their vacation.

You rented a golf cart for the beach house for easy travels to the ocean and around the island.

You rented baby equipment like a jogging stroller and high chair for the home.

You paid for seven hundred dollars of groceries to be delivered to the home.

You sent papa Croyle and his oldest son on a fishing expedition.

You gave them $2000 extra dollars to use for vacation spending money.

You sent a professional photographer to travel to Florida and take pictures. She volunteered her services, you just paid for her hotel room. She traveled SEVEN HOURS to be there and gave all of the incredible pictures to the Croyles free of charge. A picture blanket was made for Kristin out of the pictures to keep her warm.

Lou and Sister organized EVERY DETAIL above, down to the stroller rentals, so that all the Croyles had to do was show up and put their twenty-six feet in the sand.

When all was said and done, we had $1000 from the Croyle fund leftover, so we sent it on to the family to ease medical burdens.

Please remember that this miracle happened because each of you gave $25 dollars or less. That was the maximum donation allowed. It happened because each of you believed that your small act of love could make a difference. AH. It DID.

Now here’s the thing. None of that is the miracle.

Here’s the miracle:

Kristin was given a 3% chance that her chemo would work.

SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE…all the Monkees said.

It’s working. The chemo is working. Kristin’s cancer is SHRINKING and noone can explain it except for Kristin, who always knew it wasn’t her time, NO MATTER WHAT THE DOCTORS SAID.

Listen to me Monkees: there is no diagnosis stronger than the human spirit, stronger than Hope.

CROYLES-TWO

CROYLES-THREE

Look at them. They’re looking at THE FUTURE.

Love Wins.

SPEAK HOPE BOLDLY TODAY.

Love,
G

May 032012
 

*This one’s for Laura and her Sister. I forgive you, and I’m sorry, too.

 

 

 

 

“On Sunday morning, the gospel choir would walk by my cottage in their robes, singing Oh shout it out! The first time I heard them, I ran to the front porch in my bathrobe and started crying. They pulled children in wagons, their voices visible in the cool air. Every Sunday I waited for this.

All I needed of religion, I realized, was the beautiful sound of someone else’s faith.”

-Megan Mayhew Bergman, Birds of a Lesser Paradise

 

Sometimes, Love Doesn’t Win. Or that’s how it feels anyway.

Sometimes we desperately need a miracle that never comes. We pray, we hope, we believe, we KNOW and we are left empty handed and broken hearted. Beloved parents and sisters and brothers and children die. Where the hell is God? We hold up our WTF? billboard prayers to the heavens. We wonder why other people got their miracles and we didn’t get ours. When we hear people say that PRAYER WORKS or that LOVE WINS or that IT ALL HAPPENS FOR REASON, we feel, well, a tad homicidal. None of it makes sense. Anybody worth talking to will admit that from the human perspective, life makes no sense. As my minister friend Anna – who lost her husband in a car crash- would promise us,  it’s all just ABSURD. GREAT word to describe life, one of my favorites. ABSURD!

For twenty years I knew I would adopt a baby. I tried actively for seven years. Craig and I poured  our hearts and energy and time and bank accounts into this dream time after time after time. We never gave up hope. We trusted in God. We followed the signs. We fully expected miracles.  As you know, our third adoption- this time from Rwanda- fell through last month. We were so close this time that I could actually FEEL that baby in my arms.

After a few weeks of mourning, we decided that maybe our fourth baby would be biological. We talked to my doctor who said, in so many words  . . . “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND? You are chronically ill. You can barely take care of yourself. No. No, no, no, no.”

When we left I said to Craig: Hm.What do you think she meant by that?

Honey, he said. You know what she meant by that. Everyone in the office knew what she meant by that. She was YELLING.

Right. Optimism and delusion are sooooo close.

No adoption. No pregnancy. No miracle.  And we know, in our hearts, that it’s time to let that fourth baby go. I’m not healthy. It’s time to stop obsessing about that miracle- it’s time to take off our miracle blinders, and use our peripheral vision.

Because sometimes we don’t get our miracle, and that hurts like hell. But the way the world works is- if we turn our heads, we can still find one. We can share someone else’s miracle. We can enter into it and claim it as our own. It takes some work and humility and a STRONG WILL, but it can be done.

Look. I’m not going to get that Rwandan baby for whom we all prayed so hard. But turn your head. Use your miracle peripheral vision and CHECK THIS OUT.

 

 

Look at her. That’s my baby Sister. That’s my lobster. Who was crumbled on the floor, three years ago, with no hope, no GLIMMER of hope, facing a divorce that would leave the faith of our entire family in shambles.

She moved in with me after the divorce. I hung a sign on her wall that said, “For I know the plans I have for you says the LORD . . . plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

And we would both look at that sign, crying together in a Sister heap on the floor, and we would silently say to the sign, to God - BULLSHIT.  Just, BULLSHIT.

 

Now please look at her. Eventually . . . . after a while – she stood up off that floor. She trusted the absurd world again. She found her other lobster, John. He is as kind and as gentle and as strong as a human being can be. And he loves her so much that I can finally, for the first time in my life, relax. For the first time in my life, I KNOW that my Sister is cared for by a man in a pure, deep, forever way.

And now she’s seven months pregnant. We are having a BABY, MONKEES!

For John’s sake, I hope that the baby’s not Rwandan. But I’m not gonna lie- it’d be nice for me.

IT’S MY PERIPHERAL MIRACLE.  Do you see? I didn’t get my exact miracle, the one in my direct line of vision. But sometimes PERIPHERAL MIRACLES are even BETTER. Because you can love them and love them and love them but you don’t have to send PERIPHERAL MIRACLES to college.

I am so in love already.

We’re HAVING A BABY!!!!!!!!!

See. Still. Love Wins. Just gotta keep those eyes wide open and sometimes –  turn our heads.

 

 

Love you forever.

G

 

 

 

 

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