Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?"

My heart has been so heavy lately as I watch our friend Paul's health failing.  For those of you who don't know the story, Paul was diagnosed just before Christmas with testicular cancer.  The cancer has spread to his lungs and his brain.  They found a hole in his heart and a very dangerous blood clot.  He has been in the hospital for weeks... teetering between life and death.  He is 34, married to the most lovely lady Ann and is expecting their 4th baby in April.   Last night, he almost didn't make it. When I told my kids about Paul's condition, my oldest daughter Emma, broke down sobbing.  She asked the question I have asked myself time and time again.  "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Paul is not just a good person.  He is truly a saint.  In my life I have known only 3 people I put in this category.  For those that are not Catholic, a saint is someone who lives a virtuous life and positively impacts the lives of others.   Saints go straight to heaven.  They pass go, they collect $200 and no questions are asked.  Paul fits this category because since I have known him, he has inspired every person to become closer to God.  He doesn't seem to try to.  He just does.  With no judgment or righteousness, he finds some way to shine that light of Christ directly into your eyeballs.  Like an annoying camper playing flashlight tag.  You can't escape it.  Even after you are blinded, that light stays with you. 

Paul lives his life out loud and has always done these crazy, spur of the moment, carpe diem things that us regular ol scaredy cats can only dream of.  Some of you Paul people have got to accompany him on this journeys.  I am jealous.  I always watched from a distance, in awe and in admiration.  In these adventures, God is always present.  He has taken God along for the ride and we have all seen that.  His life is his testament to his faith in God.  That faith has permeated every relationship he has ever had.   We have been lucky enough to witness that and it has a lot of us talking, praying and spreading the word about who Paul is. Strangers are inspired to follow his journey, share the joy of his life and pray for a miracle.

My sister went to a Catholic college and developed strong friendships with all sorts of crazy Catholics.  It would drive me insane because I am selfish.  I never wanted these "friends" to come into my family and take up my precious time.  My sister loved them.  I feared she loved them more than me.  But, then I met Paul.  He was her first friend that didn't piss me off {sorry Steubie friends}.  He made me laugh and made me feel comfortable hanging with them.  I think he also kind of understood my weirdo obsession with my family... and forgave me for it.  He has a way of making every person feel understood and loved. 

When I had Shawnie, every family member came to the hospital to visit... Paul came too.  He came in and acted a fool.  Making everyone laugh by blowing up a hospital glove to make Shawnie a chicken.  He then proceeded to peck my infant son with the balloon.  If anyone else had done that, I would have killed them.   But, it was Paul.  At Thanksgiving one year, Paul took one of my mom's china plates {the same plates we had to HANDWASH because they were so "fragile and precious"} and in front of the whole family, busted that plate over his head.  If any of us had done that, my mom would have kicked our bootie.  But, it was Paul.  Different rules apply to different people.  Paul was always the exception to the rule.

All of us have these Paul stories.  How he came into our lives, why he is so important and so deserving of a miracle.  But my favorite and most inspiring Paul story is his son Christian.  Paul and Ann wanted children so badly and waited so long for God to bless them.  One day God put together Paul and Ann with a little boy named Christian. Christian was an unexpected miracle.  I got to meet him when they brought him to Michigan for the first time.  I was amazed by the love they had for this kiddo.  They were protective, loving, kind and such good parents.  I can't tell Christians story, because I don't know all the details, but I know that God gave them a son in the most unexpected way and they said YES with faith, hope and love.  Their example and advice, gave Shawn and I courage to say YES in a very similar way.  Without Paul and Ann's example, we may not have had the faith to adopt our Keegan.  Their yes inspired our yes and allowed us to not run in fear but accept, with faith, a gift God had unexpectedly sent our way.  This is living your faith out loud.  This is making a difference.

As Paul is battling for his life, we are all left asking the question "why do bad things happen to good people?".  I think it is so that we can reflect on the precious gift of life that none of us are guaranteed.  Every day is a miracle and a gift.  We are called to live our lives OUT LOUD, with passion, love and faith... every day, no excuses.   I don't know why this is happening but watching the numbers grow on Paul's facebook page and seeing photos of people just like me, who have encountered the light of Paul... it's life changing.  It speaks to the power of prayer and the belief in everyday miracles.  It tells a story of courage and how one person can change so many lives without even trying.  It shows the generosity of strangers who want to help a deserving man and his family.  Paul is again inspiring others to become closer to God through his fight with cancer and his incredible faith. 

No one is ready to say goodbye to such a beautiful gift and it makes us all so sad.  God blessed all of us with the light that is Paul and right now I am breathing that in.  I am thanking God for allowing me the moments I had, the life changing and inspiring moments.  I didn't deserve them.  I wasn't always thankful for them but now I am so happy that I had them.  Keep those prayers coming.  Pray, that if its Gods will, Paul will get his miracle and we will have more time to enjoy and savor those moments... moments we took for granted.  The most important lesson I have learned is, when the strong fall, the weak rally, to pick them up and carry them home.  If Paul is headed home, he is going home being carried by thousands of people, just like me, who have been changed for the better.

Here is Paul's Facebook Page.. Go and Be Inspired...

Some Photos of #prayforpaul campaign.  Share and post your own photos. 
Paul's Beautiful Family

That is a great picture of paul!  Make this your profile picture on facebook!

Kiley being a Mountain Climber a la Paul

Mid Air Superman flight

Just hanging around and praying

Hey there's a tree!  I can climb it like Paul would!

Peek a boo- I am praying for you too!

Awesome photo bomb

Barb wire?  Fence?  Illegal Trespassing?  Never stopped Paul...
{Stole from my sissy} The infamous plate incident.  Best Thanksgiving ever!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed reading this, Katie! I have also wondered why bad things happen to good people, sometimes life is so hard to understand. And while I don't know Paul, I have read a lot of your stories and memories of him and I can tell he has a beautiful spirit. He is in my thoughts and I am wishing him a speedy recovery!