The phrase “IoH family” is used often by Inheritance of Hope, so pervasively that one might think it is thrown around casually. That could not be further from the case. Examples abound of those who have embraced the IoH family as an extension of their own, but one of the very best is the Dix family. Dan, Brenda, David, Rebecca, and Michael have served IoH with a level of commitment that most people reserve for only their own closest relatives.
The O’Gorman family attended our NYC Legacy Retreat® in November 2016. Merritt, who loves dance and was 10 years old at the time, told local news that her favorite part was watching the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes.
|The O'Gorman Family in Times Square|
Oftentimes when we are at a Legacy Retreat, it seems difficult to pinpoint emotions. Have you felt that? Maybe this is your first time serving, and you have all sorts of thoughts swirling around in your head about what to expect. Or, maybe we’ve done this a time or two and yet... we still have expectations of how it will go or how we WANT it to go.
And then there’s the task of going back home trying to recap a retreat... people may say, ”So, how was it?!” And you might struggle to find the words to explain exactly what happens here. “It was SOO good, but SO sad, but SO fun, and SOO heart-wrenching.” And we become caught in these hugely conflicting emotions. How do you pinpoint or even summarize what exactly you’re feeling as we walk with these families ?
Hope. It was the one thing I searched for during my journey as a caregiver. My husband, Steve, had a rare, progressive, debilitating neurological disease that would eventually destroy his autonomic system and also required 24-hour care. Every time I came to that point where I thought I couldn’t go on, I still had hope. Each day that I had no energy left, no patience, no desire, and no strength to go on even one more hour I searched for the hope that I could go on. Yes, I said all of those words out loud - no patience, no strength, no energy.
As a caregiver, I had only whispered those words to myself. I would mumble under my breath sometimes about how hard it was to keep doing it. I was too ashamed to admit to anyone how I was really feeling. No one tells you that loving someone can coexist in your heart with not wanting to be their full-time caregiver at the same time.
On January 19-22, Inheritance of Hope, in partnership with Kendra Scott, hosted 10 families facing a terminal metastatic breast cancer diagnosis on a life-changing experience in Orlando, Florida. The Legacy Retreat®, Inheritance of Hope’s signature offering, is an all-expenses-paid experience where families create lifelong memories and receive tools to navigate the challenges of a parent’s terminal illness. The event, presented by Kendra Scott, included visits to Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld.
We are Inheritance of Hope. So, I was pondering: what is hope? If you ask most people about hope, they will tell you about their dreams. I hope to retire with enough money to live comfortably. I hope my kids grow up to be happy and healthy people. We think of hope as a maybe. I hope it doesn’t rain this weekend. We think of the word hope as a synonym for wish or want.
Usually our false pursuit of hope is focused on a pain-free life without any suffering. But here we are, walking very realistically into people’s suffering with terminal illness. So, as we ponder our purpose here, are we offering an Inheritance of “I hope so”? I hope not! That kind of hope is disappointing. So, what is hope for us, who call ourselves Christians?
Chad Falk attended the October 2016 Orlando Legacy Retreat® with his wife and three children. He shared his story at Calvary Evangelical Free Church in Rochester, MN, on November 12. This is a partial transcript of Chad’s remarks.
I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, in September, so just over two years ago. I work at Mayo Clinic; that’s been a big blessing in my life. I’ve been there since about 2001, so about fifteen years or so. I’m just proud to be part of that organization and caring for patients. It’s been neat with my cancer, how I’ve been able to reach out to people that I work with. It’s interesting how, when I open up, they typically open up themselves and talk a little bit more about what’s going on in their life. We can kind of encourage each other and hear each other’s stories.
Inheritance of Hope hosted 21 families in our largest ever NYC Legacy Retreat®. On November 18, these parents and their children arrived at the beautiful Park Central Hotel New York where they began a wonderful adventure in NYC. We had fun together ice skating, seeing shows and panorama views, riding on boats, and seeing the city lights. These families departed on November 21 with many new friends and resources to support them through the challenges of terminal illness.
Check out these links to see pictures and videos!
The Bible has a lot to say about love. An entire chapter in 1 Corinthians is dedicated to the topic.
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Hollis Malkowski has never run a marathon before, but on November 5 he will race in the 2017 New York City Marathon. He signed up late, has not had much time to train, and was warned by his avid marathon-running aunt that this was not among his brightest ideas.
He bought new shoes for the race, which he claims are bulky and ugly. He has been training in rural New Jersey among bounding deer in a reflective vest and lamp belt. The athletic 22-year old says it is not his finest fashion statement.
So why is he doing this run?