Joel’s Birthday and worlds colliding…

I am so late writing about Joel’s birthday, it was on the 14th of this month.  We were  late getting in on the 14th that I decided to write about it the next day.  Unfortunately, the next day we were hit with the news that one of Joel’s fellow cancer fighters was not doing so well.  My thoughts were consumed by him and just could not bring myself to write about cake and presents.  As the days passed another friend from the hospital was admitted to ICU and the seriousness of their battles, weighed heavily on my heart.

Romans 12:15 tells us to, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”  I struggle with this verse.  Not that I have an issue doing either, but I struggle with how to do them at the same time.  My heart is breaking for these families, they are dealing with things no parent should ever deal with, yet Joel had a birthday, and is 7, there were moments when we wondered if we would be so blessed to see such a day.

This is where the gospel comes in, this is where I see it so clearly.  On this cancer journey with Joel we have seen too many little ones lose their battle, and for each of these families it must seem so incredibly wrong that in their pain and grief the world does not stop and grieve with them, and yet it goes on, babies are born, kids have birthdays, people go shopping, people laugh and play like nothing has happened.  Yet for those who knew and loved that child everything inside them is screaming, ‘this is wrong’.  Yes, it is, because we were designed to live!  Not die. We live in a fallen world, and it wasn’t supposed to be like this.  It goes back to Adam and Eve that is where the problem began, but Praise God it didn’t end there Jesus made a way for us to have life eternally.  I know for some it sounds like a fairy tale or too hard to believe but don’t discount it, allow yourself to consider the possibility.

We are still in a broken world, Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection has provided a way for us to live on even after death, but one of the consequences of sin is that we still have pain and sadness here.  We still have cause to mourn with those who mourn.  And in this mixed up world sometimes we find ourselves rejoicing at the same time.  I know this is an odd birthday post, and probably for some seems a little inappropriate to put it all together in one post, but this just reflects the reality of the journey we are walking.

So, finally on to our Joel, a few days before his birthday we had a get together with my parents, brother and Mr. Steve.  Joel had wanted a guitar, he had a ukulele, that was accidentally dropped down the stairs and was beyond repair.   

I know that learning to play it will be a huge challenge for him but for now he is happy to just strum away.

Mr . Steve is famous in our house for finding crazy cards that play a tune or say something funny, Joel is enjoying his card in this picture.   Joshua is showing off the gift card that was inside the crazy birthday card.  When Joel was having chemo and radiation we couldn’t get him to eat, and Joel lost a ton of weight, around this time we discovered Joel had a thing for Tim Hortons and to this day when we get in the car Joel starts dropping hints that we should stop at his beloved Timmies for a snack, so the gift card was perfect.Joel is not traditional at all  and did not go with the normal cake and ice cream that is often seen at birthdays but wanted a simple cheesecake with strawberries.  It was delicious.

Joel was given tickets for him and all the children to see the circus that just happened to be on his birthday.  Dave had to work so I headed out with all the children to see the circus.  I know some folks have issues with the circus, and I myself am not convinced that I would take them again, but that debate is best left for another day.  For the most part the children were amazed and had a great time.  As I was by myself I needed to sit on the far side of them but I wish I could have been on the other side to truly capture their excitement.  Unfortunately the pictures were not the greatest, it was dark and I had Samuel on my lap for most of the show.

Joel was at the perfect age as everything seemed amazing to him.  Times have changed and the act that blew him away was done with a 4 wheeler!

There were elephants…

and horses…

and even dogs.

(Hehehe, for those who don’t know me I don’t post many pictures of myself but that is a circus lady in the picture with my gang and not me!!!!)

By the end of the night everyone was yawning, but all that fun worked up an appetite, so we decided to pick up a snack on the way home.  My children did have cotton candy (the highlight of the night) and popcorn at the circus, but we only got just enough to say we’d had some as it cost an arm and a leg!  Not enough to fight off their need for a snack.  When we arrived home everyone headed off to bed exhausted from a long day.  Thankfully, in the morning, when we woke up and realised that the night before that we had forgotten to close up the chicken coops, we found that all of the birds were accounted for.

Joel had a great birthday and we are so thankful that he is here and improving all the time and so we rejoice, but at the same time in our world the time to rejoice has collided with the time to mourn as our friends are struggling with the hardships their own children are facing.  So rejoice for Joel, but please remember to pray for Bryce and Sofia who are both still fighting their own battles in ICU.

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