Up and doing

One week before surgery, Jeff prunes away at the overgrowth in our wooded lot, May 2013.

One week before surgery, Jeff prunes away the overgrowth in our wooded lot, May 2013.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If a few short words could sum up the past 18 months of Jeff’s life, it would be hard to find any more appropriate than these.  The photo above was taken one week before he was hospitalized with the first of two major surgeries to resect metastatic tumors.  He had just finished months of gruelling chemotherapy, and despite being beset with the usual side effects of fatigue, nausea, and acute neuropathy, he continued to work full time (except on days when he was taking treatment) and at home, kept up with most of his many chores.

He always knew how to labor, but waiting does not come naturally to him.  However, he has probably spent more time waiting in these past 18 months than in the rest of his life combined.  How difficult to wait when one is tired, worried, and far behind on the responsibilities of the workplace and home.  How much more difficult when one is waiting on outcomes that will literally mean life or death!  Yet he has managed it beautifully, and his faith has not wavered despite enduring a level of physical trauma and suffering that probably would have killed me or almost anyone else I know.

One of the most essential character traits we could develop is the ability to have “a heart for any fate.”  I think Longfellow realized one key to this is to be “up and doing.”  I am not as good at this as Jeff is, but with his example, I may yet learn.

One year ago today:

There will be times

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

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