It is hard to find words to describe our experience this year at Lighthouse. I tried to take some time in the middle of the week to note our activities and I couldn’t even remember what we had done the day before! It was a whirlwind, a busy whirlwind full of laughter, sunshine, activities and connecting both with families living through cancer and families there to volunteer.
Before the trip, I did not know what serving would be like. Would it feel exhausting in comparison to our restful experience the year before? How would the kids do, after always going to the front on the line and remembering a week of ease? Martha and Henri rose to the challenge. They gave their all to Caden. From the moment they met him, they engaged him. They were willing to play tirelessly, moving from game to game. They truly enjoyed being with him. Chloe is a little young to understand this kind of selfless service, but she did enjoy serving breakfast with me each morning. More than that, she became a symbol of hope. Early in the week, several of the parents of children with cancer had heard our story. A few parents connected with me early on and asked me about our experiences. They watched her run and play, full of vibrancy. She was something to hang onto in the midst of chemo, blood transfusion, sickness and exhaustion.
A moment that stands out for me was when I cleaned our family’s condo. Every morning while the family ate breakfast, I sneaked into their condo, made beds, started laundry, did dishes and in general, tried to create an inviting space for their return. It sounds like work, but, as my dad says, “the best kind of work is that which does not feel like work.” The work felt to me like a double blessing. I felt joy as I cleaned and straightened, imagining the peace they might feel as they returned to their room after lunch, ready for a rest. It was fun working with the goal in mind of making it the best week possible for a family who had been through what we had been through. At the same time, I felt gratitude towards the Snell family, who did this for us last year. As I cleaned and folded laundry, I thought about how they had done this for me! It was like receiving their gift all over again.