by Sheri L. Van Duyn
The ABCs of Zion~
Although things are not perfect
The summer of 2003 started out relaxing, but events suddenly changed. Three weeks before school was to start, I received an Email saying that my high school where I teach Art was going to make the move and start at our new location. The fast track for remodeling was on target, plus our old school was going to be rented out by a Charter school who was anxious to get settled and wanted occupancy of the first floor-guess where my old classroom was? Yes, indeed the first floor! Everything needed to be boxed up for the move. Of course our family had planned one more boating weekend to head up north, but was cut short after this Email.
Packing and loading up boxes in over 80-90° heat was a job that my sister Kathy assisted me in each morning for a week along with other family members and friends who "adopted" me. We packed up over 150 boxes of art supplies in every medium that I teach. With everything loaded up on the semis, now was the waiting game for inspection to move into our new school.
Then my family gathered for my Dads birthday. Usually a fun celebration with all the cousins coming, our joy turned to concern as my Dad found out one day before his 69th birthday that he had prostate cancer. His was the fast growing kind, very aggressive and already outside the wall. All this jargon seemed to be so foreign to me. I rode with my Dad, Mom, and sister the following week to the other side of the state for a second opinion with a cancer specialist. Time was of the essence and decisions needed to be made. After this trip and more information, we were more confused. The two Doctors had different ways to proceed. This can be nerve wrecking at best as they are the authority of treatment. After more testing and consultations, my Dad decided on no surgery and to go with radiation treatments. His time slot was 10:15 a.m. Monday-Friday with 42 treatments. Family members took turns riding or driving him to the cancer center 25 minutes away.
Dad finished his last radiation treatment one day before open hunting day. So relieved and happy to be done, but tired from treatments he headed 45 minutes north to his hunting cabin and 200 acre get away. There were 9 who went to deer camp. Mom sent plenty of food and there was love and support for Dad who was excited about having all these family members ready to hunt. Time will now tell how successful his treatments have been.
The school move has been accomplished. Inspection passed and we were able to take temporary occupancy. Moving in the 4 days after Labor Day, each class of students came to school in the morning and unloaded 2 semis per day. This gave them ownership and helped us unpack and settle into our new classrooms. Every afternoon I continued to put away supplies as they found their way to all the new shelves and storage space. Thankfully my boxes arrived each day and I had a majority of materials put away before more boxes were delivered. At night I would leave notes for volunteers to break down boxes or wipe down material. I was so thankful for all the help and went home each day exhausted. Being so preoccupied with this move was probably the best medicine for me as my thoughts about my Dad kept flooding in my mind. I have been quite emotional lately about the move as I never dreamed that my classroom would be so wonderful; plus that fact that this was happening to my Dad. My Aunt Jerene, my Dads oldest sister and breast cancer survivor sent this ABC poem to me and I wanted to share it with you.
Seems that I had many art boxes to move and also the boxes of a heavy heart wondering all the time what would happen to my Dad. I have really come to peace with all of this. No matter how heavy your load or how burdened your heart is with care, there is One who knows all about it and feels each sorrow you bear. He hears every prayer that you whisper and His answers will come from above, just trust in His unfailing mercy and find peace in His wonderful love.
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