My vessel is weak but my spirit is strong.
Jared started Chemo Wednesday, August 10, 2016. The above picture is what he wrote on the window of his room. His first day went rather well and he was in good spirits. On Thursday things weren’t as easy but his message to me was “if today is the worst day I have I’m one blessed man.” My text said I would pay to switch places with him and I wasn’t kidding, I would raise a million dollars and pay it all if I could be in that hospital instead of him and of course he said he wouldn’t let me.
As I was sitting here pondering the depth of all that is happening, I did what so many of us do and I asked “Why God, why?” Then I centered myself and really started pondering why am I asking God this question?
I mean, I really doubt God sits up in the clouds somewhere and points his finger at people and says “You get cancer, you are dying too young today, you are having a heart attack, you are being cheated on, you are being left, and you, you right there, you get a rare blood disease that is really uncommon in people your age.”
As much as that would be an easy way to explain our woes, I just can’t actually picture that the God I know and love is passing out pain like my three year old passes out trouble. I’m just sayin’.
So I had to really think about this and reframe my head a bit. I’ve seen some pretty tragic stuff happen to people that are close to me in the last few years and it has become quite overwhelming and hearing the old adage of “it’s all part of HIS plan,” kinda pisses me off a bit. I want to be like “Oh yeah? God planned for people to get sick or die because???? Like he gets happy over it or what?” I mean seriously, WTF??
As I reframed my mind and started putting things into perspective I thought about our human bodies and how they are vessels while we are on earth. Like any vessel they are flawed. Our human bodies are miraculous in so many incredible ways from the way our neurons control reflexes to the way women and men reproduce tiny human vessels, we are one cool and amazing shell. But like all shells we can be cracked. Then I got to thinking that our weaknesses in our bodies are not some punishment from God or Karma for some mistake we made either earlier in our lives or in some broad idea of a former life, no, they are just that, flawed vessels. Our vessels are weak and flawed because they are human. These human shells that we get to inhabit for a blink of time can do many powerful and great things and they can also be broken and bent and get leukemia or a plethora of other things.
See God isn’t on some throne handing out punishments for abstract mistakes you made when you were unaware, no he is up there watching his children play and when we fall and hurt ourselves we can either cry uncontrollably or take comfort in His arms. Jared or Marissa are not being punished or being dealt a bad hand because God has decided they “deserve” it. No, Jared is in a vessel, navigating his earthly time and his shell cracked. Because that’s what happens.
I’ve watched him smile, we’ve talked about how he handles this differently than other people. His spirits are high and he refuses to be broken. It’s so hard for me because I want to help him. I want to clean his house, cook meals, and watch my nephew for them. I want to hug his neck and sit with him. I can’t do any of these things and I feel so helpless.
While I sit idly by and watch my brother pander through the why’s and the how’s and the enormity of what is happening I know he can separate the body and soul and his mantra will become “my vessel is weak but my spirit is strong.” And eventually his vessel will regain it’s strength and he will come through this with one hell of a story to tell.
I've started a charitable account at America First Credit Union. You can walk in and donate to it, the name is Jared Reaves. If you want an address, let me know. He can use a note of support. You can also follow Marissa on Instagram @jmreaves2011. Oh by the way, it was Marissa's birthday on Thursday... his hard day. He managed to get one of the nurses to go down and buy her some flowers, balloons, and chocolate. They both inspire me!