Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This has been a difficult period for us personally, losing our business, and actually waiting to hear if we would lose our home.  We've been married 28 years, and this has been the most difficult one for us as far as simple survival goes.  However, that being said, I also have to speak of God's presence in our lives, in our home, in our marriage, and relationships.  We have been richly blessed these 28 years, and so a bit of a cross now and then serves to keep us "sober and watchful" spiritually, keenly aware that God is God, and we are here to love and serve.  That, from my perspective is a blessing in itself--to realize that we can be used if we try not to get in the way too much.  I admit, working with Good Tidings, and in spiritual direction is a joy, not simply a service.  Not that the heartache others endure is joyful, but trying, in the midst of that, to be a witness to that Good Tidings of God's presence with us is a joy.  It's the joy of God-with-us that we want to share, while we have life left here.
Over the past few months, we've been talking with a few other people, one of the group is a priest, and one a vowed Carmelite woman, about working together to offer retreats for individuals who've suffered from clergy abuse.  This, sadly, is something which comes rather naturally to Joe and me after all these years.  Three of us are also survivors of abuse by clergy and religious, so we bring that personal experience as well to this aspect of our ministry.  I remember reading a wonderful book many years ago written by Roberta Nobleman, entitled VICTIM, SURVIVOR, CELEBRANT.  In it she addresses the journey from being a victim to finally being able to celebrate in her Faith once again.  It was, in my opinion, a complete journey, and one I have hoped to help others make as we work in Good Tidings.  With that idea firmly in mind, adding retreat work to this flows very naturally.  We will continue to pray about this before jumping into it.
We've been communicating with Kitty, a woman we've known a very long time via Good Tidings. Kitty's son is in a major battle with cancer.  I'd written a few times to see how he is doing with no response from her, but then, she has been very busy him, so it is no wonder that e-mail had not been answered until now.  I am very happy she did find time to write and update us though, and I am adding her own words below for you to read.  I have only edited out the location of her city, and her and her son's actual names.
It is amazing how quickly life goes by.  In her note to me, Kitty mentions how we first corresponded back in 1986!   I still remember the specifics of those days, and the betrayal she felt when her son's father was with yet another young woman on the night Kitty's child was born!  He, of course, is still a priest in good standing, whatever that means.
We will continue to be in touch with Kitty.  Please keep her and her son in your prayer, particularly with this battle against cancer that he fights. 
I am always so grateful for all who journey along with us in this ministry supporting us with your prayer.  Last week, while reorganizing files and file cabinets, I took time to reread many of the notes from our donors, which have been sent through the years.  I was again overwhelmed by the love and prayer so many have offered us.  I tell you--it is that which has kept us going, even now during this particularly stressful time we are going through personally.  They give us strength and encouragement, and confirm the reality of Christian community, regardless of the miles that separate us.  May this new year be filled with peace.
Kitty's E-mail:
Dear Cait,
I was just thinking of you and I checked the email tonight to see your message.  We are still fighting so hard.  We left NY after the second surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain and a tumor that was non viable and two attempts at stem cell harvesting with no luck as far as the stem cells went, both times it wasn't producing any.  We came back to  <her city> to do another surgery on an open wound and another attempt at stem cells this time with a drug that the drug company and the FDA let us use as a compassionate attempt.  This time after 5 days at harvesting we produced 1.9 million but we need 5 million.  They are not giving up and we are going for another attempt this will be his 4th try. They did the bone marrow biopsy yesterday and we will be harvesting the second week of Feb.

It's a difficult thing because if we get the stem cells we will do two cycles of high dose chemo (we have had chemo two other times but this will be the strongest).  They will do high dose chemo, give him back his own stem cells and then high dose a second time and give him back his own stem cells.  If he is strong enough to do all this we will be in the hospital for probably 3 months.  He is amazing which is far more than I can say about his father.  When we asked for help with the expenses of three months in New York the answer came back that they did not have any legal responsibility for the trip and to apply for any assistance ... and to tell them that his father is a priest who makes 100.00 a month, we did it without them and we will continue, we do it out of love...Guess bitterness is coming through its just hard doing it alone when there are hundreds of them preaching to care for each other (unless of course your related).

Sorry so long winded but I was so happy to hear from you when I was just thinking about you and here you are.  Thanks for not forgetting us it means alot because you go back so far.  One last thing, I have a fire proof box that I have kept things for <her son> that go back to 1986 when he was born, it is full of cards and letters and news letters from you.  There was a lot from when I lost our first baby its amazing how the words pertain to now as well as then but this time we will make it though this with my son at my side.  God bless you so much for being there for so many.

Did I tell you that I have been thinking of a book in tribute to my son?  He deserves to be respected and to be shared with others, I have been blessed.  Did I say thankyou for not forgetting us, you are also a blessing and I am truly thankful.......With Love and Gratitude........<Kitty>