28 April 2014

Could You Not Keep Watch With Me For Even One Hour?

"The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone."

George Eliot

Joanie's mother passed on from complications of pneumonia about a year before she went to the doctor with 'growing pains.'   Her six sisters and brother, as well as her father, were just beginning to get over the early loss of their mother and beloved wife.

Her father has largely given up his medical practice in Louisiana, and moved his family to be nearer to St. Jude's Childrens Hospital in Memphis.  St. Jude's has been wonderful, but this has taken an obvious financial and emotional toll on them, although I have rarely seen a more faithful and joyous family, even under these circumstances. 

Suffering and loss, especially among the innocent, is one of the great stumbling blocks of the faithful, and a seeming folly to those who have no faith. 

So we must rally to the support of those who are taking up their Cross, as will we all.  Some may ask, 'why doesn't God do something?'   He does.  He calls us, heart to heart.   He did this when He walked among us, but we do not see it when it happens now, we do not think about it in our own time.  And yet He is still here.

There are some remarkable advances being made in cancer research, and St. Jude's Children Research Hospital is a beacon. However, overall the work goes slowly and the marketplace too often seeks to maximize its returns, rather than to act boldly and take on the big projects for cures, rather than risk the incremental improvements and the steady cash flow of ongoing treatments.

We send many of our brightest and invest enormous amounts into finance and computerized systems to find better ways of cheating one another, and to spy and oppress and deceive one another.  And the effects of this tragic misallocation of energy and resources, this sickness of the spirit, are more widespread and insidious than we might imagine.

There are many fine people in our medical system, but this nation lacks the will to really rise to the aid of the afflicted, in all too many cases. There is even a growing satisfaction in the unnecessary suffering of the weak, in what is surely a diabolical form of 'justice.' 

We become what we fear and hate, because it wrings the love out of our hearts, leaving only emptiness and despair.  Indifference and greed kill bodies as well as souls. 

And Jesus wept.

Please remember Joanie and her family in your prayers, as she remembers all of you here at Le Café.

"Five days ago the St Jude staff sat us down to say they've exhausted all therapies. With teary eyes and faltering words, Joan's oncologist Dr. Navid told us it was time to go home...

The harrowing truth is that her prognosis is presently not even two months. Joan has a blessed grace period (Deo Gratias) of perhaps three weeks where she will continue with normal functioning. We're told there is a reasonable chance that she will rapidly succumb to a sudden event, likely a seizure, due to the neurological spread of her bone cancer. Hospice is on hand.

I'm talking to Joan about this brief time being an extremely special opportunity where her little prayers have a most particular power. She is praying Hail Mary's for the many folks, both near and far, who have been a part of our family.

We ask Heaven for a cure and for a holy resignation to the Divine Will. Providence has carried the Schneider pilgrims all through this journey and, despite my repeated offenses and unworthiness, I know in my bones His Mercy won't let us down."
If you wish to send a little card or note to her or her father you may do so at the address below.  If you do not know what to say, just say 'Thinking of you.  Remembering you in my prayers.'  Some of us have sent them a little 'shower of roses' as la petite fleur, Thérèse de Lisieux, had prescribed.  But a simple card of thoughtfulness is surely sufficient, for both them and for you. 

And we can carry on this practice in our daily lives, in the little things, if we can but take the first step when called.   It is that first step, away from path of the self and of death, and into the arms of love and true life that is the key.  That first step out of the darkness and into the light is the hardest.  But once there, in that loving and hospitable place, our true home for which we were made, we pray that we may never leave.
Mark Schneider, M.D.
1570 Wood Farms Dr.
Cordova, TN   38016
Related: Update on Joanie, February 2014