“Dancing in a Sky, Filled With Light”

Last week, I received two copies of an amazing book: “Amber, The True Story of a Courageous Young Girl”.  Yesterday, I was honoured to take the second copy down to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and offer it to the hospital’s Family Health Library- The Emily Center.  Like Emily, Amber was a person struck down by childhood cancer.

She was the child of a friend, which made reading this book, and sharing it, all the more important for me.  It is said, quite often, that growing old is not for sissies, and I’m sure I will experience some of that, down the road a bit.  Let me say what else is not for “sissies”:  Watching someone you love waste away.  I have been there, first as a brother, then as a husband.  Yet, I can only dimly imagine being there as a parent, and how much more as a single parent.  Amber was courageous, and that courage was matched by the steely, fastidious, undying determination of one of the finest human beings I have ever known:  Her mother.

The title of this piece comes from a song by Bruce Springsteen, entitled “The Rising”.  He wrote it and offered it, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.  The children he mentions were those sent to their heavenly home that awful day.  He chooses to see them as an inspiration, not as anchors, or albatrosses.  Such are children like Emily and Amber. They move us in all sorts of directions:  Charitable fundraisers and ongoing donation programs; medical schools researching cures for such deadly plagues; prayer vigils; meal preparations for the parents and siblings keeping watch over the fighting child.  They move us, most importantly, to treasure just what is in front of us, just how fortunate we are.

Everyone’s problems are important, to them, and to those closest to them.  Everyone’s issues deserve a measure of attention, a resolution.  It is, however, no cliche to say that when the Most Important is front and center, the Important has to wait its turn.  There was, in those dark, painful, inspiring days, a decade or so ago, nothing more important in all the world than a child named Amber.  I would have been there, in spades, had I known.  Stay vigilant, stay involved, stay loving.   This world is not for sissies.

4 thoughts on ““Dancing in a Sky, Filled With Light”

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