Mirrors

Reflections on Art, Faith, and Life

Month: February, 2017

The Unwelcome Guest

This is my way of informing friends and acquaintances across the globe that my cancer has returned for a 3rd time. My PSA’s had been rising, so it isn’t a complete surprise, but I hope I’m allowed to say that it still sucks! I have a deep distaste for the things this does emotionally to my family. I think I’ll not care for some of treatment’s side effects, but Sue and I have found a new “normal” twice before, and I’m confident we can do it again.

I have scans March 7 to be sure the dragon is localized. Please pray for good results and that we can continue on the treatment regimen I started 9 days ago.

Please pray this treatment will be effective! As we head into a new valley of uncertainty, here are the things I’m completely certain of:

  • I have an unchangable and ever-faithful Trinity in my corner
  • I have the most amazing wife. She consistently amazes me as she is forced to deal with the “for worse” part of her wedding vows
  • I have a support network among my family not everyone has – I do not take that for granted, and I would do anything I could to spare them this. I’m grateful for the part of the journey they will make with me
  • I have 56 young adults that come to rehearsal M-F and love me beyond what I deserve
  • I have a loving church family that I know will be praying for me
  • I have loved ones all over the globe that will take us before the Father on a consistent basis – thank you from the depth of my heart for this
  • My administration has prayed for / laid their hands on me – not everyone has that kind of support at work
  • There are MANY people who hear worse news than I have received

So, what happens now? First and foremost, every time you’re tempted to worry, just pray. I am confident prayer and treatment are far more effective on the cancer than worry. Second, a reminder that I HAVE cancer, I am NOT cancer. I’m still the same old me (I’m aware that’s really scary to some of you – maybe many of you), and intend to stay that way as long as possible. Treat us normally – that’s a huge gift you can give our family. Third, commit to noticing and taking pleasure in the little things that happen every day that make life beautiful and add meaning to our lives this side of heaven. Fourth, if your theology makes you think/say “God did this to your for a reason” you are like Job’s friends – I don’t need that, I don’t agree with that, so I will love you as you keep that to yourself. This dude is establishing the most positive vibe network I can. I trust I will hear the voice of God in needed ways, but I just don’t believe God inflicts disease on people; however, I know He promises a future where only health resides.

I’m growing more and more comfortable realizing that the questions we don’t have answers for probably shouldn’t eat up the mental and emotional space we often give them. I am anchored deeply in the Cross, passionately love my family, have the greatest job in the world, and have been richly graced and gifted.

Thanks for any part of the journey you will take with me. We serve a God who is not only Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient, but one who is the Great Physician and a Great Sustainer. I will cast all my anxieties on Him, because He cares for me – I encourage you to do the same because He cares for you in the same way.

In the shadow of the Cross,

Clark

 

 

 

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A Review of “Katharina and Martin Luther: The Story of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk” by Michelle DeRusha

I was dually drawn to this book being interested in both religious and music history. I could not have predicted what a “can’t-put-it-down” read awaited me. Before you think, ‘oh yeah, another book on Luther!’ let me assure you this is not the case. Michelle’s exhaustive research and masterful story-telling give us an up close and personal look at the separate and combined lives of this couple as no other document has done.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent forward to the book. It really sets the stage well for what follows and is extremely well-written.

Katharina’s biographical material is fascinating. When combined with the brilliant informed speculations and poignant writing of Michelle, this book invites you into the lives and places that shaped Katharina before and during her marriage to Martin. If you want to learn how a Reformation feminist was formed – this read is essential. The story that unfolds shatters every stereotype one might have about Katharina based on the status of women in those days. This lady was strong-willed, determined, and a force to be reckoned with. Being invited into her life is a treat, and like a treat, the reader always wants more.

Michelle has taken what could be dry biographical data and breathed life into it. You will experience Katharina’s home life, the decision of sending her to a monastery (made without her knowledge or consent), her daring and risky escape from that monastery, and her meeting of and eventual marriage to Martin.

It is probably not possible to talk about their marriage to the exclusion of Martin’s revolutionary and reforming ideas, but to have those presented with the backdrop of wife and family was enlightening. Martin’s “women’s role” bark was apparently worse than his bite, as the Luther abode was really quite progressive for its time. It was fascinating to follow them through their journey of falling in love, because that it not how the marriage began.

Possibly the most amazing part of Katharina’s life, and the one that showed her most legitimate strength and gumption, was her life after Martin’s death. Michelle draws us deep into the emotions Katharina no doubt felt trying to hold her family together and provide for them in a time where a woman was defined only through her relationship to a man.

I am reticent to give too much away, but I can promise you an engaging, intelligent, informative, and inspiring journey through the pages chronicling this window into the Luther’s lives and relationship. I recommend Michelle’s book without reservation, and want to thank her for sharing her acquired knowledge, heart, and linguistic acumen with us. Not just everyone can take a string of factoids and weave them together in a way that tells a captivating story. Michelle does exactly that. Treat yourself and read it.

Clark Roush, Ph.D.