I do my best thinking when I am running or writing. Or maybe I do my best feeling when I am running or writing – I am not quite sure. I think it’s both – it’s all about the mind/body connection, so I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to get off the couch or out of bed and get moving each time.
In any case, I just got back from a 3 mile run, trying to work off my vacation calories, and I found myself thinking about my friends Jane and John, and their 7 year old daughter Sophia who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in April of this year.
Jane writes a journal on Caring Bridge that not only keeps her friends and family updated about Sophia’s treatments, but also provides us with inspiration and laughter. Talk about vulnerability (see my last post) – Jane shares her fears, her hopes, and funny stories about their journey, and when Sophia writes, her sassiness shines right through.
I was thinking about them because I recently read Jane’s post that was titled “Unbroken.” Jane is reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, a book that I just happened to finish reading a few weeks ago, and she wrote about the parallels between Sophia and the POWs in the book. I enjoyed the book – and was definitely inspired by Louis Zamperini’s amazing story. It is hard to imagine how a person could overcome what he did – but that is not what this blog post is about.
This post is about my amazing friends, John and Jane, whom I have known for almost 20 years, and their increbile family who inspire me on a daily basis with their strength, their vulnerability, their humor, and their overall outlook on life, sickness, family and spirituality.
When I read Jane’s post about how Sophia is getting through her toughest week of treatment, it cut straight to my heart. In Jane’s words, “This kid has toxic poison flowing through her veins and she is still kicking butt.” Like Louis, Sophia has an incredibly strong will, which Jane says keeps them strong as a family.
This child is only 7 years old, and yet she already seems to know who she is, what she is made of, and consistently musters the strength to battle this serious disease. It is truly inspiring to me, and moves me to tears on a regular basis. Sometimes happy tears, sometimes sad tears. Sometimes both at the same time like what is happening to me now as I write this. Sometimes I am sad that they have to experience the pain of what is happening to them. But then, I think it’s because of this sadness that I am so moved by their strength and vulnerability as I realize how much we can learn from them.
Jane uses the word grace on her Light the Night fundraising page to describe how Sophia is enduring her illness and treatment. It is apparent to me that grace is present in their entire family – and shared with their friends and family. There is a higher power at work here – I know this because I can see it and I can feel it.
Their spirit is truly unbroken…and in fact seems stronger to me than ever before, because whether they realize it of not, I feel strengthened each time I read Jane’s journal, each time I see a photograph of Sophia and her siblings, Jack and Christina, each time I read about something funny Sophia did or said, and each time I hear the latest about the Anonymous Monkey Sender (AMS) and his/her antics.
Their family and friends are walking in the Annapolis, MD Light the Night Walk to raise money for the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on October 27th Use this hyperlink if you would like to support Team Sophia: http://pages.lightthenight.org/md/Annapoli12/TeamSophiaMcCaul.
While I can’t be there in person, my heart and spirit will be with them.