Saying Goodbye to Superman

Friday, October 24, 2014
What's the biggest annoyance in your life today?  The gloomy, damp weather?  The fact your team didn't make it into the world series?  Your boss or co-workers are all idiots who plot to make your life a living hell?  (Yeah, we know that isn't true, even if some days it feels like it is.)  I think we all get caught up in self pity over some pretty menial things, convinced that they are making our life downright depressing and frustrating, even hopeless.  I'm here  to remind you that whatever is happening in your world today is probably not as bad as it might feel.  There are some, many in fact, who have "real" issues to face, some monumentally bigger than what most of us will hopefully ever have to face.

This morning on the Today Show, I watched a story about a little boy, Ethan Van Leuven.  Ethan is four years old and for the past two years, Ethan has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia.   Ethan's doctors have recently declared his illness as 'no longer treatable'.  They  told his parents he has two days to a couple of weeks to live.  I'd say that's a pretty big deal - much bigger than any of the annoyances I mentioned and probably bigger than just about any that most of my followers might also be dealing with.  I'd say we're pretty blessed.

So what do parents do with such devastating news?  Well, I'm sure they react like we might expect - shed tears, pray, rely on friends and family for support.....but this family took this news and turned it into something more.  They are making Ethan's last days something special.  The whole community of West Jordan, Utah, came together to celebrate Halloween 10 days early just so Ethan could take part in the festivities.  The town held a parade in honor of Ethan's 5th birthday - one month before his actual birthday.  In addition, the family and everyone on Ethan's block have decorated for Christmas and tonight the community will celebrate Christmas Eve.   All this for one little four year old boy - a boy who in not even 5 years has touched the hearts of so many!  This is that little boy............
This is Ethan - photos courtesy of the Today Show

I'd say that's a pretty appropriate costume, wouldn't you?
I know there are some of you with chronic illnesses that make life pretty unbearable some days, and some of you may be struggling with job loss or financial hardships.  You may have a family member who is battling cancer.  Maybe you've lost a family member or friend recently.  But many of us have very blessed lives, and yet we sometimes wallow in self pity.  We whine about silly things like the weather.  What I suggest is this - for the next week or so, whenever you find yourself about to whine or complain, turn your thoughts to Ethan.  Think about how his life was cut short.  Think about the loss his parents are about to experience and the tremendous heartbreak that they must endure as they grasp onto Ethan during his final days.  Remind yourself how very lucky you are - even with the hardships you might be enduring.  Someone out there has it even harder than you.  Take a moment to feel blessed and thank God for those blessings and please pray for Ethan and his family and friends.

It's easy to take for granted our blessings, but not all children are born healthy, or live to grow up and go to college.  Teenagers might be testy and trying, but I'm pretty sure if you had the choice, you'd choose to keep your hormonal, moody teen rather than lose them to disease or drug abuse or car crashes.  When we are not forced to face those terrible losses, we sometimes become complacent and take life for granted.  Don't!  Think about Ethan and remember how fleeting life can be and hug your kids, your spouse, your parents.  Life is a gift that holds no guarantees.  Everyday we have is one more we must take time to appreciate.

Godspeed Ethan.   Your are a superhero!

post script:  Little Ethan passed away on Tuesday, October 28th at 10:20 a.m. Rest in peace little man.

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