In Lent

40 Day Journey with Our Neighbors in Solidarity

Week 5: First Nation Communities at Pine Ridge and Woyatan Lutheran
Written By: Jackie Johnson, Pine Ridge Reconciliation Center

Question for today:  What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?

I think the hardest thing I’ve had to do is to tell my children that I’d been diagnosed with cancer.  

In 2005, I divorced my children’s father. He is an alcoholic. As hard as that decision was, he could not be the role model of father and husband for our three children. He was barely involved with the kids before the divorce and even less so afterward.  

In late November 2006, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Em was 13; Nick and Sam were 9. All family was a minimum of four hours away. 

How in the world could I tell my children, after everything else, that they’d been through that I had cancer?  I had to have a plan.  I waited first until I knew my prognosis, which was very good. Then I set the support structure in place.  Thankfully, I’d been involved in their schools and had relationships with counselors enough that a phone call to have support there. Further phone calls to parents of their close friends and I was ready.  

I sat my children down and had a frank discussion. It was hard; there is no doubt about that. But with doing my homework and setting supports in place for them, I could do the right thing and tell them the truth.

Now, what was the hardest thing you’ve done?

John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Dear God, You are so wise in all your ways. Sometimes life seems so dismal, yet Earthly death is so final. You offer so much more, the opportunity to celebrate life! Eternal life! Thank you! Amen.

Jonathan Steiner