Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pep Talk: "Angels Among Us"

After a recent A Stronger Cord wellness outreach event, a passionate participant with an awesome beard muttered fantastic words. “Mark, the pastor of my church encouraged everybody to be a thermostat, not a thermometer.”

Amen to that, buddy.

The latter measures temperature while the former regulates it. The preacher was challenging congregants to be conscious of what they bring to the party when they walk into the room. Do we make others comfortable? Do we uncomfortably raise the heat or chill the air? What kind of energy do we emit? For whatever reason my feeble brain wandered to another friend, definitely a thermostat, Doug Wittenberg.

I’ve written about the father of six frequently as a courageous battle with cancer continues. Recently many family members and friends gathered to celebrate his 50th birthday. “What a year’s it’s been,” cracked the devoted hubby. 

That is a vast understatement. It started with a sore throat. Then, the discovery of cancer in his thyroid, surgery to remove the tumor that left a nasty scar (one can barely detect it now) from behind the left ear, down along the neck and to the Adam’s Apple. From there, the adventure brought massive doses of radiation while his head was strapped down with a Hannibal Lector-looking mask. Doctors didn’t want Doug’s noggin moving while modern medicine’s laser machine tried to work its magic. For most, a wild and scary roller coaster ride.

This man’s spirit has never wavered. These days, in a brief respite from life-sparing treatments, the Denver native is back working full time. But recent news was sobering. The cancer is spreading, chemo looms as does a trip to Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Clinic for fresh ideas. While attending his half-century celebratory party, I observed, and marveled, at the energy, warmth and love the engaging man radiates. For sure, he’s a thermostat.

“Yes, it’s been a tough year,” Wittenberg admits. “But it’s about turning tribulation into jubilation.” Wow. He quickly rattles off the children’s successes, the love and support of an amazing wife, Jennifer and the continued growth of their Family Life ministry. He joked, “We had more than 500 couples show up at our last retreat. I couldn’t speak much (cancer treatments have reduced his voice to a whisper) but many found that a blessing.”

Hah hah. 

It’s been said, “We have to be tested to bring forth the testimony.” We all have our stuff, don’t we? For an aging ol’ jock, this Pep Talk is being written well before the sun will rise for what is forecast to be a beautiful mid-September Centennial State day. The mind is restless. It’s plagued by self-condemnation for things trivial in comparison to Doug’s challenges. “This affliction is just temporary,” says the faith warrior.

What a blessing to have reminders about the importance of being a thermostat, not a thermometer; of realizing jubilation is born from tribulation; of understanding the test comes before the testimony. Life’s lessons and inspirations. When we’re open to receive them, they’re present and available in the form of angels, like Doug, among us. 

This week, don’t overlook them!

No comments:

facebook metwitter
linkd in

Hey Comeback Coach Copyright© 2009

About The Comeback Coach | Contact Us | Links | Privacy Statement