Thursday, December 8, 2011

There Are "rocks," And Then There's "The Rock" (of course, there are also pebbles)

I'm not talking about the professional wrestler. I'm talking about the "Rock" Isaiah refers to in
Isaiah 26: 4  
Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.

Now, God's a ROCK!  I get that imagery. God's that eternal Rock that is eternally trustworthy. Not me. I fall short. But whoever said "I" was a rock? Keep in mind I'm going somewhere here and it's not "Pat Carol on the Back-Land."

Yesterday, as I write, it was suggested that men and women who deal with melanoma on a very personal level, because we have it, could possibly use a very private Facebook group (FB calls this type "secret" because the privacy controls are the tightest they offer).I was asked, as administrator of Melanoma Prayer Center, to host this group for members to have a safe place to discuss issues they can't discuss anywhere else. Many need to talk about "death" and that freaks their families out. Many are trying to work with chemo-brain and that brings special challenges that a person can't go around discussing at the office. There are a plethora of things we think about and deal with that, generally, don't leave our nearest and dearest anxious to talk with us.

Dealing with a deadly disease is a bummer. Dealing with a deadly disease in a death-denying culture is uber-bummer. To talk about death doesn't mean a person is considering throwing in the towel. No, but it does mean a person has to process this very real eventuality and families, by and large, don't like to talk about it. "Don't talk like that." "You'll be all right. You'll make it." "Everything will be OK." Parents, especially, learn those lines and learn them well and freak out at the possibility they may have to bury their baby. It's not the natural order of things.

I don't think "reality TV" has even tackled this one. I could be wrong though, but if they have, going by the industry's track record...it ain't real.

So, I set up this group and announced its creation so anyone interested could contact me to gain admittance. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I don't always word things as well and as clearly as I think I do. But I thought I did pretty good. For some, maybe. For others, no. I came across, for some, as I was closing Melanoma Prayer Center and moving to a secret group and it scared a few.

And that's when I realized the importance of MPC for some people. Mitch and I went shopping after my online announcement. I needed a new, reliable computer to continue doing what I do for my church and online. We returned home and I looked at FB hoping to see hundreds of people wanting to join the group and instead, I was greeted with a few panicky friends of MPC who count on that ministry. One, and I could hear the fear and dread in her comment, called MPC her "rock." Or am I her rock? For me, it's one and the same because I'm the voice behind that page. MPC's Scripture choices, prayers, music, other links, come from me.

Which come from, I prayerfully hope, me following God's leading. My Rock. I never thought about me or anything I offer the world as "rock" material or worthy of that description. It's humbling beyond words.

It also got me thinking, and as you know, that's dangerous. Watch out for falling debris!

By the time we get to a certain age, usually somewhere in adulthood and have people who depend on us for something...anything...we become a "rock" to someone. We all do things, everyday that impact someone, for good or bad. We will either be "rocks" or we'll be pebbles in their shoe. Just because we'd never ascribe that distinction to ourselves, doesn't mean others don't see us that way.

I never knew I was a "rock" until someone told me. That's probably true for most of us. The woman who sees me as a "rock" had no reason to call me that until she thought her "rock's" existence was threatened. That's probably true for most of us, too. We don't fully realize what someone means to us until their existence is threatened or gone. We don't realize what we and our work mean to others until they panic and tell us.

While her fears proved unfounded, I had to get busy and do some serious clarifying and put her mind at rest. Her "rock" isn't going anywhere anytime in the foreseeable future. Neither is MINE. Ever.

Who is your "rock"? Have you told them what they mean to you or how you value their work? They really won't be here forever. Living in a death-denying culture doesn't mean we can stay on this planet forever. We may deny death but we can't cheat it.

So why this blog post about "death" at Christmastime? Because we in melaworld face facts and we celebrate life as we talk about death. We know death is a valley we'll all cross but we choose to celebrate the journey to it and beyond it. What better time than at Christmas?

When you're trying to figure out that "perfect gift" for that "perfect person" who has "everything," ask yourself if they have the gift of knowing what they mean to you? That's unbreakable, irreplaceable, and non-returnable. You don't need plastic. You may need paper if you choose to write your thoughts or pen a song. OK, they can't drive that or wear it out to eat, so throw in a donation to their favorite charity (not yours). Let them know that you pay attention to what matters to them and since they matter to you...well...

Let them know how grateful you are that the ROCK put a rock like them in your life.