I think it was preordained. We didn't just accidentally meet. Rick was talking with Dave and Lisa Christian. I've briefly talked with them before, but they are better acquainted with Rick.
As I approached them, Lisa turned to me and reintroduced herself. We chatted causally for a minute. It was Rick who sought my eye and quietly told me in a hushed voice, that Lisa had just been diagnosed with hormone negative breast cancer.
I had heard just the week prior that someone from our "hockey" community had been diagnosed and it would become public knowledge soon. My mind had reeled with the possibilities, and yet as prepared as you are to find out who it is, when you put a name and face with it, it cuts just as deep.
Tears sprang to my eyes, and we gushed, her and I. Lumpectomy? Mastectomy? Treatment? Sanford? Mayo? The kids? The vulnerability? The fear? Fresh tears silently creep for the answer to each question.
How do I offer her grace?
As I search for words, its then I notice where we are all standing.
Can you guess?
Within arms reach is the christian literature book section and front and center is One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. I grab it and put it into her hands. "This is how I do it... this is how to do it." She reaches for that and as she hugs it to her she asks "what else?" I reach again for Francis Chan, "Crazy Love." We peruse more titles till her arms fill and I know she is fortified with the best.
She'll learn the language of cancer soon enough. It isn't what she needs from me. Faith and hope in a steady supply is what she will need.
They have dinner plans with friends and have to rush off. The "sisterhood" has widened by one more. We've gone from acquaintances to cancer sistas in moments.
Thank goodness I know her family and how they will love her through it. And the hockey community will rise up and embrace her as well. But everything she needs filled her arms and then some on that day.
So last week Rick showed up with this for me. Jordy Christian, nephew of Dave and Lisa from above, donated a generous gift of money to breast cancer research in my name. Jordy plays Division I hockey for St. Cloud State University and we've been lucky enough to watch him all through his high school playing days right up to now. I had instant tears for the way his own family has now been touched by breast cancer and how his thoughtful gesture touched me. I apparently haven't eaten enough cookies for it to fit me, so I've attached it to my purse and carry it with me.
Almost every year when he comes home for Christmas, Jordy invites our boys to come and play some hockey with him. This year the weather made for a perfect outdoor hockey outing.
I could see the excitement in the eyes of my boys as they got their gear ready that morning. They were going to play hockey on the frozen pond on the golf course behind Jordy's house. And with the bright blue sky and the sun streaming down, the conditions were perfect for Rick to take photos.
Colton put on his goalie gear and here he is taking on Jordy's brother Bryant. Bryant is a Moorhead Spud hockey player and plays for our high school team which is currently undefeated. Both Nolan and Colton have dreams of playing for the Spuds one day.
Nolan was in heaven just being able to skate outside in temperatures that were mild and warm. And taking on both a Division I hockey player and a Moorhead Spud at the same time put a little jump in his step.
They even had a rookie skating with them (in white) the entry level for hockey players in our youth program.
I asked Nolan if he fell since he wasn't wearing any pads... he said a quick no, and then smiled and said once, sort of. Hmmm, Jordy claims he had NOTHING to do with it... but his stick placed in the blade of Nolan's skate begs to differ... ha ha.
In photo after photo, all you could see were beaming faces. Its a rare treat on many levels to play outside in mild temps in December in Minnesota. Its an even rarer treat to play with a Husky and a Spud both with the name Christian.
Our younger boys look up to and want to be just like the big guys. They see all the talent, the skill, the speed they have. They're starting to understand the hard work it takes, and how you have to increase your understanding of the game all the time. But what they don't know, is that it takes a big heart to be an exceptional player and a role model. It takes a mother's eyes to see the bigness of Jordy's and Bryant's hearts- and trust me, they're big, really, really big.