Yesterday morning while I was working on a story, Sam ambled up to me. "Has it passed?" I asked.
"No," he said, "Farrah Fawcett has."
On any other Thursday, he wouldn't have been available to give me news updates, but on this one he was home. Just like he'd been home on Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday — all the way back to the wee hours of Sunday (Father's Day), when he felt the first pangs of a passing kidney stone. Each time he groaned, I'd ask, "Do you think it's time?" Whenever he left the bathroom, "Has it passed?"
When Sam gave me the news, I couldn't help but think of Ryan O' Neil. Say what you want about their crazy, immoral relationship, but he cared for her and loved her for the two and a half years of her battle with cancer. That's somewhat longer than the five days I was experiencing. I love Sam dearly, but there were a couple of times I had to remind myself: "In sickness and in health."
Later, while I stirred shredded beef for our quesadillas, Sam sidled next to me. "Has it passed?" I asked. "No," he said, "Michael Jackson has." "What? Really? How?" Before I became a child of God, I was a child of the 80's and a fan of moon-walking, "Thriller," and everything Michael.
But then, he changed, and so did I.
As Sam and I ate, I thought about Michael's rise and fall, but mostly I thought about the relationship he had had with his father — a demanding man who could be abusive and cruel. Recently my own biological father had been on my mind — not that I knew who he was. I had just followed the last lead I had been given before my mother died. It came up empty. Another dead end. The last one.
Perhaps, though, I had been more fortunate than Michael in not knowing who he was.
Say what you want about the immoral life Michael Jackson lived — and there's a lot to talk about — I can't help but feel compassion for the lost boy he was. I've not seen evidence he ever truly found his heavenly Father, and I think to myself, "There but for the grace of God go I."
At nine in the evening, while I was watching clips of Farrah and Michael on TV, Sam came into the family room holding the strainer the doctor had given him. I raised my eyebrows, "Well?" "Yes," he said, "it has passed."
And so shall everything under the sun — including cancer, abusive or non-existent fathers, immorality, and even kidney stones. The best we can do is to live our lives to the glory of God, pointing the way through Jesus Christ, and praying for the lost souls in our lives.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves (Ephesians 1:4-6 TNIV).