Wednesday, March 7, 2012
"Micah's Story" preview
June 22, 2009
The Journey of Journeys
“Mrs. Ramsey, please call our office immediately. We have been trying to contact you for weeks, and need to talk with you concerning Micah.” This message was on my answering machine while Micah, my 15-year-old son, was with his younger sister, Charity, in Montana, on a mission trip on an Indian Crow Reservation. Nervously, muttering a quick prayer under my breath, I picked up the phone and dialed the number. I had almost memorized the urologist’s phone number because I had called it so many times prior to the kids leaving for Montana. I had left a number of messages stating that I was concerned about the results of Micah’s kidney tests before I was going to send him thousands of miles away across the country. No one had called me. The tests had been run six weeks ago; why were they calling now stating it was imperative that I call them back? What was wrong?
The receptionist quickly forwarded my call to the nurse. Her tone was concerned and steady. She took the time to thank me for our voice mail recording, stating that it had brought her peace and encouragement when she heard it. She hoped that we would have the same peace and encouragement. My mind was in a whirl. Carefully, she told me that while they were examining Micah’s left kidney, the radiologist “happened” to look up and see a three centimeter lesion on Micah’s left – 10th rib. “What is a lesion?” was my quick response. She stated a number of prospective diagnoses, but the only word I remembering hearing was, “tumor.” Micah might have a tumor.
My husband, Clark and I were alone for the day. Jeremiah was at work at the docks, and our youngest child, Joy, was spending some time with her best friend. I quietly spoke to Clark with much confidence, and some disbelief. Then I took off for a much-needed walk. Traipsing off into the hills along the bubbling run-offs that make our hundred-acre wooded homeland so beautiful seemed like the perfect place to begin my initial wrestling with God. While I aired my concern and suggested His appropriate response, the Lord comforted my heart with the knowledge and truth that Micah belonged to Him. Micah was God’s son first, and the fact that he was my son became evidently secondary. That walk marked a journey that we were about embark upon that would proceed in a direction of no-return - path we did not choose, but one in which we would not be alone. As in Hind’s Feet on High Places, Sorrow and Pain linked arms with me, but the Good Shepherd would never be far away.
Clark sat at home in his recliner faced with the devastating news as well. This was our normal reaction to life: Clark processing slowly, not saying much; while I was out doing something - walking, running, crying, yelling, and fighting. We could never have been prepared for the months that lay ahead. We didn’t see this coming. Like a torrent of a river in the springtime, life (or, rather, death) was about to turn our world upside down. We were about to become helpless spectators in a game we did not want to play.
Our calm discussions, during which, both of us fought back tears and hoped for the best, began. Should we tell Micah? Surely there was no cause to concern him with this, and everything was going to be fine. No sense in upsetting him, or causing him to worry. We would just tell him that he needed to go see a specialist for a follow-up visit. As I pictured my intelligent, 15-year-old son, who never missed a detail, sitting in an orthopedic oncologist’s office; I knew he would know what that meant. I told Clark, “We need to tell him because I don’t want him to figure it out in the office.” We agreed that when Micah returned from his mission trip, we would divulge the news. We both dreaded that conversation. While we knew Micah would take the news well and with the utmost optimism, the difficulty would be upon our hearts and minds as to our communicating the news in a peaceful, trusting way. We tried to brace ourselves.
Before the kids left for the trip to Montana, I dreaded the fact that while we had already accomplished 39 weeks of missions together, none of us had been separated for any significant time, except an occasional trip to Camp Cowen – the local church camp. I had struggled through the entire two-week stint of separation during the Montana mission trip coupled with the fact that we were not enjoying our mission week experience TOGETHER. Fortunately, the church took a college student with them who posted daily five-minute videos of the trip; and I eagerly watched daily just to catch a glimpse of my lovely children. I cried when I saw them, longing for their presence and wishing I could be with them. I had no idea that this separation was merely a preparation for the one we were about to endure from our dear son.
The assumption that we all had for both the kids, but especially Micah, was that this would be the beginning of new adventures and mission trips far away from home. Again, we were correct in our understanding, but we had no idea just how far away from our home Micah would be traveling in the near future.
As Micah and Charity as well as Clark and I finished what we had counted as our 40th week of missions, the anticipation of reuniting overwhelmed my mother’s heart. Typically, we did just about everything as a family. We had home schooled all of the kids into eighth grade, and that allowed us to “do life” together. Clark and I were full-time ministers/missionaries in a rural area in West Virginia, and the children were very involved in ministry. It was hard work, physically, mentally, and spiritually, but we enjoyed serving the Lord together.
Micah had intentions of taking over the ministry when the time came, and that thrilled our hearts. He had been an avid disciple, loving the Lord, His Word, and serving others since he was a little guy. The fruit of our labor in Micah’s life was beginning to blossom, and with great hope and enthusiasm, Clark and I looked forward to what God was doing in and through our son’s life.